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Chiquita Brands International Inc. has named Brian W. Kocher, the produce company’s CFO, to the newly created position of COO. Kocher will remain as CFO until his replacement, for whom Charlotte, N.C.-based Chiquita has initiated a search, is named.
In keeping with the company’s new strategic direction, it’s consolidating global sales, business unit and food safety capabilities into a single organization, which Kocher (left) will lead, and which will focus on boosting cash flow in core businesses and driving value through customer relationships. Chiquita’s commercial operations will be organized into two core business units: Bananas globally and Salads & Healthy Snacks in North America.
"Brian is an outstanding CFO, but as we look to consolidate our commercial operations to better leverage our core products, it is clear that Brian has the right experience and skills for the task at hand,” said Chiquita president and CEO Ed Lonergan. “Brian's financial depth, combined with his vast operations experience, having been president of both North America and Europe and the Middle East, make him uniquely qualified to serve as COO.”
Added Longergan, “As we look to find Brian’s replacement, our focus will be on a finance executive with a commitment to our refocused business strategy in our two core areas, and a mindset to drive profitable growth.”
Kocher has held a range of senior leadership roles since joining Chiquita in 2005. Before becoming CFO, he was president, North America; president, Europe and the Middle East; and VP, controller and chief accounting officer. He has more than 18 years of accounting, sales, finance and business process change experience, including senior roles at General Electric, Hill-Rom, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.