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Edward F. Lonergan has been appointed as Chiquita Brands International’s new president and CEO, effective Oct. 8. Lonergan succeeds Fernando Aguirre, who previously announced his plan to step down as the Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s chairman, president and CEO.
Most recently president and CEO of Diversey, Inc., a leading global provider of sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions, Lonergan has also been appointed to Chiquita's board of directors, while Kerrii B. Anderson has also been named non-executive board chairwoman, also effective Oct. 8.
While at Diversey, Lonergan 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.
"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,” said Kerrii Anderson. “Ed's leadership and operational expertise ideally suit him to lead Chiquita in its next phase of growth.”
For his part, Lonergan praised Chiquita’s “strong equity and high-quality products,” as well as its “solid foundation on which to build…[an] excellent team…that is well equipped to take the necessary steps to drive change and enhance operations." He added, "I am committed to working closely with the board, management team and talented employees to continue the Co.'s financial and strategic turnaround aimed at refocusing and re-energizing the core business and driving down costs."
Anderson also thanked Aguirre on behalf of the company's board, “for his commitment to ensuring a smooth transition as well as for his dedication and contributions over almost nine years of service to Chiquita. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
As previously disclosed, Aguirre will assist in the leadership transition as a consultant for one year.
Prior to Diversey, Inc., Lonergan served as the president of the European region for The Gillette Co. from May 2002 to Dec. 2005, where he was accountable for more than $3.8 billion in sales revenue. Prior to his career at Gillette, Lonergan 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.