Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced a series of senior management changes, among them that its board of directors has elected Tanios E. Viviani as president of Fresh Express, which the company acquired last month. Fresh Express is among the U.S. market leaders in value-added salads. Viviani joined the company in 2004 as vice president of Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit. He assumes the position formerly held by Mark Drever, who will move to Chiquita to participate in the Chiquita management committee, assisting in the transition and helping to guide the overall strategic direction for value-added produce.
"Since coming to Chiquita, Tanios has helped turn around operations at Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit, taking this business to a leadership position in the Midwestern U.S.," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "Tanios has also played a key role in developing our sustainable growth strategy, and he has been heavily involved in the Fresh Express acquisition, including leading the integration and due diligence team."
Aguirre continued, "Tanios has an exceptional background that will allow us, with Mark's senior counsel and strategic support, to leverage the established success and momentum at Fresh Express and find new ways to grow that business profitably. Tanios has a proven track record managing brands and leading operations, establishing efficient supply-chain structures, negotiating strategic alliances and creating effective marketing plans."
"I enjoy this business and am very pleased to be able to reduce my active, day-to-day involvement and yet participate in a senior strategic role with Chiquita," Drever said. "I've gotten to know Fernando, Tanios and the rest of the Chiquita senior team, and I'm happy to ensure a smooth transition and bring my perspective and practical knowledge about value-added produce to strengthen and grow the business."
"I am especially pleased that Mark has agreed to participate in the management committee and to assist with the transition, as well as with our combined strategic directions for fresh-cut," Aguirre said. "He has a wealth of experience and offers unmatched insights that are pivotal to our business success. We look forward to his continuing advice and counsel."
Chiquita also named the Fresh Express management team, all of whom will report directly to Viviani. "I feel very fortunate to have such a skilled and experienced leadership team to help integrate our two businesses," said Viviani.
"I have already observed several instances where we can effectively leverage our complementary, best-in-class business practices and proprietary technologies to add value," Viviani said. "I'm confident that we can realize the full potential of bringing our two organizations together in a way that drives consumer and customer satisfaction and delivers superior business performance in an exciting growth category."
Brian McLaughlin will continue as chief financial officer of Fresh Express. Scott Komar, executive vice president, will assume additional responsibilities for the operations group. Rich Berry, vice president, business management, Jim Gallagher, senior vice president of sales, and Jeff Lemmon, also vice president, business management, will continue and expand their sales, marketing and business management responsibilities. Jim Lugg will continue to lead the TransFRESH business as president. John Johnston, vice president, emerging business, who currently manages the fresh-cut fruit operations at Fresh Express, will assume increased responsibilities for leading and integrating the fresh-cut fruit operations of both organizations under the Chiquita brand name.
Chiquita also announced that Susan Ajeska and Margaret Scattini, executive vice presidents for operations/food safety and marketing/business management, respectively, have voluntarily decided to stop full-time employment but will continue to serve the company as part-time advisors. "We are gratified that Mark, as well as Susan and Margaret, will continue to contribute their considerable combined expertise and insights as they each move into different, more strategic roles within the company as we go forward," said Viviani.
Viviani has more than 23 years of professional experience. He began his career as assistant operations manager for a pasta factory in Brazil, later moving into sales and marketing. Subsequently, he joined Procter & Gamble as an assistant brand manager in Puerto Rico, and during his 16 years at P&G, he held a variety of marketing, sales, advertising and general management positions in the U.S., China and Brazil.
Viviani was a key leader for Procter & Gamble in both China and Brazil. He also founded its first service business venture in the U.S. and led a global alliance of manufacturers on behalf of the company in North America, Europe and Japan.