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Malena brings in industry veteran as VP of sales

A former vice president of sales at River Ranch Foods has been tapped to lead Malena Produce Inc.’s expanding executive sales team. Peter Hayes directed commodity and private-label programs for this major Salinas-based grower-shipper and now joins the Malena team at its sales offices in Rio Rico, AZ.Malenas-Pete-Hayes

Prior to River Ranch Foods, Hayes was director of new business development and sales manager for Newstar Fresh Foods, and he previously held various sales management positions at Dole Food Co. for over 26 years. In his new position at Malena, Hayes will lead the company’s expanding commodity and value-added programs and supervise all sales and marketing activities.

“We are very excited to have Peter lead and help grow our sales organization,” Gonzalo Avila said in a press release. “He brings superior business development expertise as well as unique service strengths that will help our customers build their business.”

Malena Produce, a leading Mexico produce distributor since the 1950s, was named Exporter of the Year by the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. The company launched aggressive expansion plans in 2013, increasing total volume and now handling more than 20 items. Last month, the company launched its first partnership with vegetable growers in Georgia, with plans to further expand both domestic and Mexico production during 2014-15.