Eric Shonebarger is stepping down as president of Hit Promotional Products (PPAI 113910, S14), effective immediately.

Shonebarger announced on Tuesday that he will transition to a board seat for the St. Petersburg, Florida-based supplier. He is expected to pursue an opportunity in ecommerce outside of the industry.

CEO CJ Schmidt will take on the added title of president, at least in the interim. The change could set off a series of other C-level moves to realign its leadership structure in response.

Leaving On A High Note

In a statement, the company said, “Eric has been an integral part of our company’s growth and success over the last 20 years. His strategic vision, strong leadership and unwavering dedication have helped us achieve many milestones. We will always be grateful for his guidance and the impact he has made on our company culture.”

Hit Promotional Products saw continued growth during Shonebarger’s tenure as president.

  • Its 2022 revenue exceeded $600 million.
  • From 2019-2022, Hit Promotional Products grew in revenue by 23%.
  • The 2022 PPAI 100 rankings awarded the supplier High Marks in Revenue, Growth, Online Presence, Innovation and Professional Development.

“As I reflect on the last 20 years, I am incredibly grateful for the trust and opportunity that the Schmidt family has given me,” Shonebarger said. “To the Hit Promotional Products Team, you are the most talented and hardworking people I know. I am honored to call you not just coworkers but friends.”

Shonebarger has a long history with the company spanning two decades, and he worked his way up to the role of president while serving the supplier in different capacities along the way.

  • He joined Hit Promotional Products in 2004 as a network administrator and reached senior leadership in 2012 with a promotion to chief information officer.
  • In January 2021, coming off of the initial year of COVID-19, he was named chief operating officer.

What’s Next For Hit?

Schmidt is no stranger to the president title in the company his father, Bill Schmidt, founded. He held the role for nearly four years before taking on CEO duties in 2018.

In April of 2022, Schmidt told PPAI Media that he expected to see double-digit growth from Hit Promotional Products in 2023.

The company has made a priority of adding senior level talent with industry experience in recent years.