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Produce Business

Deli Business

American Food & Ag Exporter

Cheese Connoisseur

Concern For Chiquita’s Future

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, February 1, 2007

We’ve been praising Fresh Express for its food safety program and its donation to industry food safety efforts. However, we worry about the future of its parent company, Chiquita

It was just announced that Jim Gallagher, VP Global Sales, Scott Komar, VP Global Innovation (former VP Operations) and Sarah Stone, National Director for the entire Wal-Mart business for Chiquita/Fresh Express, all resigned.

In addition, in the last four months, two other top Chiquita Fresh North America executives — Tip Murphy, VP Sales, and Jeff Filliater, Senior VP for the entire Chiquita North America business — have either left the company (Tip) or been moved to a new position (Jeff, to VP global banana innovation).

Also, the top three Fresh Express people have left the company. We don’t know the exact reason all the Chiquita folks left, but the Fresh Express people were superstars and left of their own volition after the buyout of Fresh Express by Chiquita.

Chiquita came out of bankruptcy and is run by an ex-Procter & Gamble executive, Fernando Aguirre, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chiquita. Tanios Viviani is the president of Fresh Express and he is another ex-P&G executive.

P&G has an excellent reputation for executive training, but so does General Electric, and recently the CEOs at both Home Depot and Albertsons, each trained at GE, had to resign after their operating success didn’t match up to their billing.

The departure of all these top people isn’t exactly a vote of confidence in top management.

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