November 28/Houston/PRNewswire -- Castro Cheese Company Inc., a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of Hispanic cheeses and creams, today announced that Ricardo "Ric" Alvarez has been named president and chief executive officer of Castro Cheese Company Inc. He assumes the role previously held by interim chief executive officer J. Robert Hall.

Castro Cheese, acquired by Palladium Equity Partners on August 31 of this year, is based in Houston and markets its products under the "La Vaquita" brand. It is well known throughout Texas.

Alex Ventosa, a managing director of Palladium Equity Partners, said, "We look forward to working with Ric Alvarez and the talented team at Castro Cheese to build on the company's 30-year track record of success."

"I am pleased to have the opportunity to lead Castro Cheese at this exciting time," added Alvarez. "I look forward to working with the strong team at Castro Cheese to expand the company's reach into new markets and channels, and to introduce new products."

Prior to joining Castro Cheese, Alvarez was president and CEO of Juanita's Foods in Los Angeles, a manufacturer and marketer of authentic Mexican foods, where he successfully grew the business in new channels and geographies over a short time. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Ruiz Food Products, a leading frozen Mexican foods company, which achieved significant sales growth, new product development and expansion during his tenure.

Alvarez is an alumnus of the University of Florida where he earned PhD and Master of Science degrees in Food Science and Human Nutrition. Previously, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of South Florida.

From the December 3, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash