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Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced Oct. 2 that Edward F. Lonergan has been appointed president and chief executive officer, effective Oct. 8. He succeeds Fernando Aguirre, who previously announced his plan to step down as chairman, president and CEO of Chiquita.

Mr. Lonergan most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Diversey Inc., a leading global provider of sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene LonerganEdward F. Lonergansolutions. At Diversey, he led the strategic and financial turnaround of the company, significantly improving efficiency, market competitiveness and shareholder value, and established Diversey as a global leader in sustainability.

"We are extremely pleased to announce that, after a thorough search process, the board has chosen Ed Lonergan as its next President and Chief Executive Officer," Kerrii B. Anderson, chairwoman of Chiquita, said in a statement. "Ed brings more than 30 years of leadership experience across many industries, and is widely recognized as an outstanding business leader with an impressive track record of success. Ed's leadership and operational expertise ideally suit him to lead Chiquita in its next phase of growth. I look forward to working closely with Ed as we continue to execute our strategic priorities and create stockholder value."

"I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead Chiquita, a company with strong equity and high-quality products," Mr. Lonergan added in the statement. "Chiquita has a solid foundation on which to build, and an excellent team in place that is well equipped to take the necessary steps to drive change and enhance operations. I am committed to working closely with the board, management team and talented employees to continue the company's financial and strategic turnaround aimed at refocusing and re-energizing the core business and driving down costs. We believe this strategy will allow Chiquita to enhance its competitive position and further align its operations and investments to increase profitability, improve cash flow, reduce debt and drive long-term shareholder value."

Prior to Diversey Inc., Mr. Lonergan served from May 2002 to December 2005 as the president of the European region for The Gillette Co. Prior to that, he spent 21 years with The Procter & Gamble Co., where he held a variety of leadership positions both domestically and internationally, including general management roles in customer business development and in developing markets. Mr. Lonergan graduated from Union College in New York in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in political science.