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Chiquita Brands International, Inc. announced a new President and Chief Executive Officer to succeed Fernando Aguirre.
Edward F. Longergan will take over the position, effective October 8, 2012. Previously, Lonergan served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Diversey, Inc., a global provider of sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions. At Diversey, Lonergan was credited with leading 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.
In a press release announcing his new position, Lonergan said, "I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead Chiquita, a Company with strong equity and high-quality products. 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."
Chiquita's Chairwoman Kerrii B. Anderson said, "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. 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."
In August, Chiquita announced Fernando Aguirre would leave the company as part of downsizing. At the time, Aguirre spoke to WBTV about the decision. You can read that story here. Aguirre agreed to act as a consultant for Chiquita for one year, to help ease the transition.
Chiquita's Chairwoman said Tuesday, "On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Fernando 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."