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Dwight Ferguson has been named chief executive officer and president of Naturipe Farms, effective Jan. 4, 2010.

Mr. Ferguson, who left a similar position at Eurofresh Inc., Willcox, AZ, last month, takes over for Rich Amirsehhi, who has been serving as interim CEO since the departure of Bruce Peterson earlier this year.

Mr. Amirsehhi, who is Naturipe's chairman of the board of directors, announced the appointment in a Dec. 9 press release, stating, "In this role, Dwight will be responsible for the successful day-to-day management, growth and sustainability of Naturipe Farms. Working with the grower partners on the board of directors, Dwight will lead the organization to determine business strategies, establish strategic long- and short-term priorities and direct an experienced management team and dedicated staff in achieving those goals and objectives."

Mr. Ferguson told The Produce News Dec. 9 that he was delighted to be joining Naturipe. They have such a great team and a great product.

Mr. Ferguson was the CEO of Eurofresh Inc. from 2003 to 2009. The company reorganized its financial structure and emerged from bankruptcy protection in early November, at which point it was announced that Mr. Ferguson, along with several other members of the executive team, had departed the organization. During Mr. Fergusonss tenure as CEO, Eurofresh expanded its leadership role in the greenhouse tomato business.

During his career, he has also served as president and CEO of Florimex Worldwide and Florimex International BV, a leading cut-flower distribution company. Additionally, he has held various sales, marketing and operations positions for Chiquita Brands International, Pepsi-Cola Co. and Procter & Gamble.

Mr. Ferguson added in his interview with The Produce News that his career has put him in the position of working with many different category leaders and clearly Naturipe is in that same position. Initially, I will be traveling quite a bit to meet our customers, growers and employees, and I am looking forward to that.

He said his experience working for international companies as well as produce items with tremendous growth potential will serve him well in his new position.

While he has put his stamp on the companies that he previously led, Mr. Ferguson said that it is much too early to discuss any opportunities for expansion or change that he might see.

Rich Amirsehhi has served as CEO for most of 2009, and has done an excellent job. Initially, Ill be working to sustain the progress he had made, he said.

Mr. Ferguson said that his departure from Eurofresh was not unexpected and he indicated that he did have conversations with Naturipe prior to leaving the tomato company. I understand that Naturipe has conducted a thorough and deliberate search to find a CEO, and I was part of that process.

Mr. Ferguson is an active participant in industry associations, serving on the board of directors of both the Produce Marketing Association, and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. He is also a past director for the U.S. Floral Marketing Association and PMAs International Advisory Board.

Naturipe Farms LLC is an international, grower-owned producer and marketer of berries and other products headquartered in Naples, FL. The company sources products from throughout North America and South America to ensure year-round availability for locally grown and in-season conventional and organic berries.

Naturipe Farms, formed in 2000, is a partnership between Hortifrut SA, MBG Marketing, Naturipe Berry Growers and Munger Farms, with locations in California, Michigan, Texas, Massachusetts, Chile, Mexico and Argentina, as well as Florida.