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    New Leadership Team in Place at Dole Fresh Vegetables

    The new management trio takes helm as Prez Schwartz steps down.

    Ray De Riggi, former president and c.e.o. for ConAgra's specialty meats division, has taken the helm of president at Dole Fresh Vegetables following the departure of Eric Schwartz, who left the company after 10 years to seek other opportunities.

    Also joining De Riggi at the Monterey, Calif.-based based Dole Fresh Vegetables, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., is Frank Davis, s.v.p. of operations; and Roger Billingsley, s.v.p. of R&D.

    In a statement, De Riggi said he and his new associates will "address innovation in a much more aggressive way on the value-added side of the business - not only in products themselves but also in how they are handled at retail and foodservice." The initial focus "will be on leveraging the Dole name to deliver to consumers what they want today - flavor, quality, safety, variety and nutrition."

    Prior to joining Dole, De Riggi spent 10 years in various executive leadership roles for ConAgra Foods Inc., most recently as president/c.e.o. of grocery products, the company's largest profit contributor - before leaving to found Orange County Business Bank in 2005. Prior to joining ConAgra, De Riggi spent 18 years with Pet Inc., in senior level finance, operations and general management posts, including e.v.p. of sales

    Davis' career includes senior leadership roles in both operations and general management, with more than 20 years of diverse experience in the industrial, foodservice and retail industries His most recent position was s.v.p./operations for Schwan Food Co. Previously, Davis held various executive positions at ConAgra Foods and Newly Weds Foods.

    Billingsley was most recently division v.p. of R&D and scientific affairs for the Abbott Nutrition division of Abbott Laboratories. He has also worked for Kellogg, Nutri/System, Pet Inc. and ConAgra Foods.

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