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Sunsweet president adds CEO title

Sunsweet Growers Inc., a leading marketer of prunes, specialty dried-fruit products and fruit juices based in Yuba City, CA, announced that Dane Lance, the company's president, has taken on the additional role of chief executive officer, effective Oct 6.

Arthur Driscoll II, chief executive officer since 2004, is retiring after a distinguished tenure with Sunsweet. During Driscoll's time at Sunsweet, the company achieved record-setting revenue and grower-member crop returns.

"Art's contributions to Sunsweet cannot be overstated," Lance said in a press release. "His business insight and strong leadership during a period of severe global oversupply has enabled Sunsweet's grower-member returns to consistently outperform the market. As global prune production now swings away from oversupply, Art has Sunsweet perfectly positioned to thrive into the future. He hands off the CEO baton having done an incredible job."

"Dane has done outstanding work as president, demonstrating the leadership and vision necessary to help Sunsweet grow into the future," Gary Thiara, chairman of Sunsweet Growers Inc., added in the press release. "Throughout his 23 years at Sunsweet, Dane has always shown tremendous drive, insight and passion. His becoming the new CEO reflects careful succession planning by Mr. Driscoll and the Sunsweet board of directors. We look forward to a bright future as Dane assumes his new position as president and chief executive officer."

Prior to his position as president, which he assumed in October 2012, Lance has spent the last two decades in progressive leadership roles at Sunsweet. He has been instrumental in building consumer demand for Sunsweet prunes and juices around the world. Lance's dedication to advertising has been critical in driving prune household penetration up 40 percent in the last decade.

Key product innovations fostered by Lance include Ones, PlumSmart, D'Noir and Plum Amaz!ns. These innovative products now represent over 15 percent of company revenue.

Prior to joining Sunsweet, Lance spent three years with the Clorox Co. in marketing management positions. He received his bachelor's and MBA degrees from the University of California-Berkeley, in the fields of operations research and marketing.