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Dave Dever leaving Pandol Bros. to join Sun World

by Rand Green | November 21, 2011

Dave Dever, president and chief executive officer of Pandol Bros. Inc. in Delano, CA, has submitted his resignation and will join Sun World International as president and chief executive officer, replacing Al Vangelos, who is stepping down from the position he has held since 2008.

According to a Nov. 21 press release issued by Sun World, Mr. Vangelos is leaving the Bakersfield, CA-based company's top management position to pursue other interests but will remain as a member of Sun World's board of managers. Mr. Dever will begin his new position with Sun World on Jan. 16, 2012.

David Dever

Christopher Parker, chairman of Sun World's board of managers, said in the press release, "On behalf of the board of managers and the entire management team, I would like to express our gratitude to Al not only for his leadership as president and CEO, but also for the hard work and dedication that he has given to Sun World. We wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement. Sun World's board and management team are confident that after an extensive search, David Dever is the right person to be our next CEO and we look forward to his contributions."

"I want to thank Sun World's board and management team for these last six years," Mr. Vangelos added in the press release. "I am proud to have been part of the company's growth and evolution into a premier agricultural company."

Mr. Dever had informed the members of the Pandol Family earlier in the week of Nov. 14 of his intention to leave the company. The announcement was made the same day that the first great-great-grandchild of the company's founder, Steve Pandol, was born, resulting in two "headline" events for the company in the same day, said John Pandol, vice president of special projects at Pandol Bros, and one of the company's owners.

"Cousin Andrew J. [Pandol] and his wife Erin had their first one, Lucile Pandol, so that is the first of the fifth generation," said Mr. Pandol.

It had not yet been determined whether Pandol Bros. would be seeking a replacement for Mr. Dever from outside the company, promote from within or simply just "reshuffle the responsibilities" among the company's personnel, Mr. Pandol said. "That decision really has not been made."

"We will take care of all the transitional issues," Mr. Pandol said. "I don't see any tremendously complicated transitional issues, to be perfectly honest. I think this will be very smooth."

Mr. Dever took the reins at Pandol Bros. as president and CEO in September 2007, replacing Jack Breech, who had announced his retirement. Previously, Mr. Dever was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Ballantine Produce Co. Inc. in Reedley, CA, for five years. Prior to that, he was with Sanger, CA-based Gerawan Farming for 10 years.

"I am excited to join the Sun World family," Mr. Dever said in the press release. "Sun World's international reputation for quality products backed by a well-qualified and innovative team provides a great foundation from which to build. I look forward to working with such a talented and dedicated group of people."

"We made a decision about 10 years ago" that an outside CEO was needed to deal with some of the challenges the company faced at the time, including the transition from the second generation to the third generation, Mr. Pandol told The Produce News. Mr. Breech "brought one set of skills to the table, and he worked through one set of issues." Mr. Dever "worked through another."

The question now is whether "we have any challenges out there" that would necessitate bringing in another executive from outside the company.

"We are going to sift through that in the next couple of weeks here," Mr. Pandol said. But "I think that the predominant thinking is every skill set we need, we have in the house. We may just divvy up the responsibilities."