Two more executives leaving Chiquita

Cutrale-Safra completed its acquisition of Chiquita earlier this year, and since that time several executives have left and the company announced it will be closing its headquarters in Charlotte, NC. Brian W. Kocher, who had been serving as Chiquita's president and chief executive officer, and Joseph B. Johnson, the company’s vice president and chief accounting officer, are the latest to announce their departures from the company.

Earlier this year Kocher’s predecessor, Ed Lonergan, left the company, as did Rick Frier, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Kevin Holland, chief people officer; and James Thompson, general counsel.

Kocher, who should receive more than $7 million in a severance package, resigned effective March 31, and Johnson's resignation is effective April 17.

Kocher had been Chiquita's interim president and CEO since January 2015. From September 2013 to January 2015 he served as its executive vice president and chief operating officer. He held a variety of other leadership roles at the company since 2005, including president of Europe and Middle East from January 2011 to February 2012 and as our president of North America from October 2007 to December 2010.

Kroger names new president of Dillons

The Kroger Co. has promoted Marlene Stewart to president of the company's Dillons division. She replaces Joe Grieshaber, who was recently named president of Kroger's Columbus division.

Stewart currently serves as vice president of merchandising at QFC, based in Seattle.

"Marlene combines a passion for people and proven merchandising and operations leadership," Mike Ellis, Kroger's president and chief operating officer, said in a press release. "We look forward to Marlene bringing her knowledge of our customers and business, and commitment to our associates, to the Dillons team."

Stewart started her career with Kroger in 1977 as a bagger in the company's Cincinnati division, where she worked full-time while attending the University of Cincinnati. She went on to serve in many leadership roles in Cincinnati, including store and district management, training and merchandising. In 2005, Stewart was named director of operations for Kroger's Mid-Atlantic division before being named vice president of operations in 2007. She was named to her current role in 2011.

Throughout her career, Stewart has been involved in a variety of community organizations, serving on the boards of local food banks, the Girl Scouts and the United Way.

United Fresh honors Wegmans’ Bill Pool

Bill Pool, Wegmans Food Markets manager of produce safety, has been named the United Fresh Produce Association’s 2015 Technical Award recipient. The award is presented to an individual who has made significant technical contributions to the fresh produce industry.

“Bill is an icon of the United Fresh Food Safety & Technology Council, where his wisdom and reasonable approach have been critical to the success of many produce food-safety initiatives the council has driven for the industry,”2014-CPS-Pool-panel-ABill Pool David Gomabs, United Fresh’s senior vice president of food safety and technology, said in a press release. “As an advocate of food-safety practices at all stages of the supply chain long before the need was generally recognized, Bill has more than earned this recognition. I personally thank him for his dedication and contributions to the fresh produce industry. ”

Pool earned a bachelor’s degree in food administration and a master’s degree in service management from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He began his career serving in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps 1970-73, auditing facilities providing food to the U.S. military. In this role, he also monitored compliance with contract requirements and performed sanitary audits on major commissary facilities.

In 1973, he joined Wegmans’ consumer affairs department. Over a span of 25 years, Pool was responsible for food safety and regulatory compliance in all Wegmans retail food stores. He also was involved with Wegmans’ program to increase grower adoption of integrated pest management practices and marketing of fresh products grown with documented IPM practices.

Pool transitioned to Wegmans’ produce team in June 1998, where he worked with employees, buyers and suppliers to understand and identify best growing and best post-harvest handling practices. He is currently involved in Wegmans’ efforts to move local growers toward greater implementation of GAPs.

The United Fresh Produce Association will present the award June 9 at the opening general session of the 2015 United Fresh convention in Chicago. Participation in the opening general session is available only to those attendees who have purchased United Fresh’s educational packages.

Co-located with FMI Connect 2015 and the International Floriculture Expo, United Fresh 2015 will bring together retail, fresh produce and floral leaders who are searching for unique products and looking to enhance relationships with valuable business partners.

Geena Davis featured speaker at Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference

With the April 26-28 PMA Foundation Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego just around the corner, organizers are confident the some 225 participants will benefit from a powerhouse speaker lineup as well as sessions geared toward three career stages and a unique mentoring program that pairs lesser experienced women with industry veterans.Davis CAAspeakers photoGeena Davis

According to Margi Prueitt, PMA Foundation executive director and senior vice president of PMA, the 2015 conference is “going to be absolutely great.” The speaker series, Prueitt said, is headlined by Academy Award-winning actress and advocate Geena Davis. 

Davis will keynote at the April 28 closing session that will run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. with an address entitled “Geena Takes Aim: Empowering Women.”

Consistently witness to the strength of women during her decades-long film career as well as her Olympic sports participation (an alternate on the archery team) and, most recently, gender advocacy, Davis is recognized for her work toward bringing gender equality into the popular culture lexicon.

According to the PMA Foundation, she is at “the forefront of changing female portrayals and gender stereotypes, through cutting-edge research, education, training, strategic guidance and advocacy programs.” Davis' film awards include the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1989's “The Accidental Tourist,” and she has received numerous nominations and accolades for her screen work. Both she and co-star Susan Sarandon were nominated for Best Actress in the 1991 hit, “Thelma and Louise.”

Her offscreen activism has increased in momentum in recent years. In 2007 she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, with its mission for reduction of stereotyping of women, and this year she will launch the Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas, with the intent of highlighting diversity in film.

A perfect fit for the WFPC, Davis shares the podium with other eminently qualified motivators.

At the opening general session on Sunday, April 26, keynote speaker Colette Carlson will share her insights with an address entitled “3 Truths Female Leaders Need to Know,” a look at self-awareness as well as skills necessary to become an authentic, credible and confident leader. Using humor to deliver her message, Carlson encourages her audience to laugh out loud along the way to learning business skills. Her session will include tips on cultivating connections and developing strategic relationships, using self-promotion to gain support and also boosting credibility through the elimination of  self-deprecating and self-sabotaging behaviors. Carlson is a business communication expert, motivational speaker and author of “Tactfully Speaking,” published in Business Management Daily.

Monday's morning general session, “Well on Wheels,” features keynote speaker PowerHouse Performance Coaching founder Jenny Evans, who will examine the tendency to be a a perfectionist who over extends time and resources, who fails to delegate or say no when the situation requires it and who may evaluate herself harshly and has difficulty asking for help. The program addresses both psychological and physical needs of female leaders and provides tools for establishing confidence, power, resiliency and health.

Ken Tucker of Intentional Difference motivational speaking and blogging will keynote the Monday afternoon general session. The motivational guru will further examine an individual's Intentional Difference, which consists of critical outcome, driving passion, assimilated experience, cumulative knowledge, emergent skill and prevailing talent. According to the foundation he will focus on the idea that “5 percent separates you from the rest of the world. Eighty-five percent of what you are capable of doing, most other people can do just as well. Ten percent of what you are capable of doing, others can be trained to do. But 5 percent…the unique 5 percent of what you are capable of doing, only you can do.”

The speaker series also features Cohen Career Consulting founder Aimee Cohen, author of the bestseller “WOMAN UP! Overcome the 7 Deadly Sins that Sabotage Your Success”; Your SweetSpot's president and CEO Kym Harris; Deborrah Himsel of the Thunderbird School of Global Management; Cheryl Jordan, leadership development coach; Rebecca Hendricks, executive associate for Barnes & Conti Associates, which provides consulting, facilitation, and development work for numerous client organizations across a wide range of industry sectors; Rob Brodo, executive vice president and GM of Advantexe Learning Solutions with more than 20 years of training experience with a focus in healthcare, technology, chemicals, and process manufacturing industries; and Amy Hirsh Robinson, expert on the changing workforce and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, privately held businesses and not-for-profits to prepare and retool leaders and their workforces to excel and compete in the New Economy.

Year-round Honeycrisp within reach

Year-round availability of Honeycrisp apples will soon become a reality for some retailers and their apple-loving customers. Honeybear Marketing, owner of the commercial rights to the Chilean Honeycrisp, will bring its largest crop of Southern Hemisphere Honeycrisp apples to the United States in late April. This will enable Honeybear retailers to carry Honeycrisp until the grower’s domestic harvest is available in early Fall.

“Perfection at high volume takes time,” Don Roper, vice president of sales and marketing for Honeybear Marketing, said in a press release. “Twelve years ago we searched for and found just the right Chilean location, microclimate and conditions to produce a premium Honeycrisp, and we set about laying the groundwork for today. In all that time our goal was simple: create a perfect Honeycrisp eating apple that together with our domestic crop enables our retail partners to sell, and consumers to enjoy, Honeycrisp at any time of the year.”

Honeybear Marketing — and parent company Wescott Agri Products — was granted the exclusive production and commercialization rights for the original Chilean Honeycrisp by the University of Minnesota, developer and owner of the original variety. The company also has a long history with the Honeycrisp variety and was one of the first growers to produce Honeycrisp in Washington state. Today Honeybear is recognized as a premier Honeycrisp label in the U.S.

“We had tremendous results with last year’s Chilean crop which sold throughout spring and early summer so we really knew this year could be a big game changer for retailers,” Roper said in the release. “This year we will have significant production increases from our Southern Hemisphere crop, meaning for the first time we’re now able to offer an assured, year-round supply of Honeycrisp to our retail partners.”

Harvested and best enjoyed in fall, Honeycrisp is one of the best-selling apples in the U.S. But by spring, late storage domestic Honeycrisp crop begin to lose some condition and flavor. Honeybear’s fresh-picked Chilean Honeycrisp combined with the company’s  domestic Honeycrisp crop grown in Minnesota and Washington state ensures that customers and retailers will now have the best flavor and conditioned Honeycrisp available in the market.