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CINCINNATI - Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced on Wednesday that Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr. was elected chairman of the board and CEO. Freidheim, 66, will retire as vice chairman of Booz Allen & Hamilton at the end of this month after 35 years of service with the firm.
Steven G. Warshaw, who successfully led the company through the difficult bankruptcy reorganization process, has resigned as president, CEO and as a director of the company.
Robert W. Fisher, a board member and former president of Dole Food Co., was named acting chief operating officer. Fisher, 64, also served as chief operating officer of The Noboa Group, the largest private banana company, and as president of Geest Banana Co.
Freidheim commended Warshaw for his dedicated work in helping put together a reorganization plan acceptable to the court and the creditors. "Steve provided leadership during the most difficult period in the company's history," Freidheim said.
"I consider it a privilege to head up one of the oldest and most distinguished companies in the United States. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our loyal employees in North America, Europe and Latin America, we have weathered the storm and have emerged intact from our Chapter 11 reorganization.
"Our focus in the weeks and months ahead will be rebuilding as we all work together to restore profitability, grow shareholder value and resume our position of leadership in the industry."
Freidheim said the board and the company's top managers would conduct an intensive top-to-bottom review of company operations over the next few months to determine the future course of Chiquita Brands.
Freidheim has over 35 years of business consulting experience with some of the world's leading corporations in 15 countries. His clients were spread across several industries including food, consumer products, and agribusiness. Freidheim has specialized in strategy and restructuring of global corporations, including playing a key role in devising and implementing the successful government-backed program to restore the Chrysler Corporation to profitability.