Steve Strome has retired as chairman and CEO of Handleman and is being replaced by Albert Koch, who has been named president and CEO.

Koch is currently vice chairman and managing director of AlixPartners, an international financial advisory firm. He also serves as chairman of Polar Corporation, a full-service provider of tank trailers, light-duty trailer parts and tank repair and maintenance services. Other positions he has held include serving as CEO of Champion Enterprises Inc., a leading builder of manufactured homes; interim CFO of the Kmart and interim CFO of Oxford Health Plans. He was also a partner with Ernst & Young for 14 years, including seven as Managing Partner of the Firm's Detroit office.

Strome, who was with Handleman for nearly 30 years and the last 16 as chairman, will serve as a consultant during the transition. No word yet on who will replace him as chairman. Jim Nicholson is currently the company's presiding director.

For more than a year, the Handleman board of directors were seeking a successor to Strome. The company hired John Breeder as president and COO, but he left after a month in August 2006. A few months later in October, the company hired Robert Kirby as president and COO, but he exited last month.

According to the company announcement, the Handleman board says that Koch's priorities will be to accelerate the pace of change at the company and return it to profitability.

"The music industry is undergoing dramatic changes," Koch said in a statement. "This requires the company to continue building on the significant steps Steve and his management team have already put in place to reduce costs. At the same time we intend to pursue additional opportunities to strengthen the company's overall performance. My focus at Handleman will be to improve financial results, while leveraging the company's core competencies of category management, logistics and in-store service into other avenues for growth."

Koch noted that the Handleman's "liquidity is strong at this time, with excess availability through its credit facility currently at approximately $100 million."