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Eurofresh founder returns as CEO

by Tim Linden | November 29, 2009
Johan van den Berg has been reappointed president and chief executive officer at Eurofresh Farms in Willcox, AZ, the company he co-founded in 1990. The firm emerged from bankruptcy Nov. 18 after restructuring its debt, which reportedly reached $300 million when it filed for bankruptcy protection in late April of this year.

Since 2005, Mr. van den Berg has served as chairman of the board. With the reappointment of the former founder of the firm as CEO, three of the company senior executives have left the organization, though there are currently no details concerning their departure. Sources both inside and outside the company have confirmed that Chief Executive Officer Dwight Ferguson, Vice President of Human Resources David Godfrey and Chief Financial Officer Brian McLaughlin are no longer involved in the operation.

In a press statement released by the company, Mr. van den Berg said he is excited to resume his former role in running operations for the company. "I am extremely proud of the direction Eurofresh Farms has gone since I co- founded the company 19 years ago," he said in the statement. "I'm also excited to return and actively lead this great company into a new chapter of our history."

Mr. van den Berg co-founded Eurofresh Farms in Pennsylvania in 1990 and moved the company to Willcox in 1992. The farming operation has grown from 10 acres in 1992 to 274 acres today, and in 2002 it added a 44-acre greenhouse in Snowflake, AZ.

The press statement made no mention of the departing executives, and no current Eurofresh official was available to comment for this article.

As part of its financial restructuring, Eurofresh entered into a settlement with the majority of its debt holders to convert more than $200 million of debt into equity. Eurofresh will reportedly receive $35 million in new capital to repay debt and ensure financial stability to continue investing in strategic capital expenditures.