CINCINNATI, August 18 /PRNewswire/ --
- Management Changes Also Announced for Fresh Cut Fruit and Asia
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) today announced that it has named John (Jay) W. Braukman III, 50, as its new senior vice president and chief financial officer. Braukman will be responsible for all aspects of the company's financial operations worldwide. Braukman succeeds James B. Riley, who will remain with the company through the end of August to ensure a smooth transition.
In addition, Chiquita promoted Manuel Rodriguez to senior vice president of government and international affairs. The company also announced that the heads of its Fresh Cut Fruit and Asian operations were leaving the company.
"Since joining Chiquita earlier this year, one of my first priorities has been to ensure that we have the right people in the right positions throughout the company," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "I am dedicated to building a high-performance organization as we pursue growth opportunities and the company's transformation into a more consumer- and marketing-centric organization.
Braukman: Former GE and Telecom Industry Veteran Brings Diverse Financial and International Experience to CFO Role
"Jay has a very strong financial background with excellent experience derived from working in both large multinational and emerging growth companies, including 25 years with one of the world's premier companies, General Electric," Aguirre said. "He brings extensive international experience and has held a number of key financial and accounting positions during his career. I look forward to him joining the Chiquita team."
"I'm delighted to come to Chiquita and look forward to helping the company increase shareholder value," Braukman said. "Chiquita has a solid financial foundation that offers many prospects to leverage its tremendous brand into new growth opportunities."
Prior to joining Chiquita, Braukman served as chief operating officer of ITC^DeltaCom, a provider of integrated communications services in the southeastern United States, since its merger with BTI Telecom in October 2003. Before the ITC^DeltaCom and BTI merger, Braukman had served as BTI's chief operating officer and chief financial officer. From March 2000 to December 2001, he had served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Rhythms NetConnections, a broadband service provider.
Before joining Rhythms, Braukman served as a senior finance officer at a variety of General Electric businesses, including chief financial officer of GE's US$8.5 billion Information Technology Solutions business unit, which had operations and a workforce of 13,000 across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Europe and Australia.
Braukman also served as chief financial officer of GE's Italian operations, Nuovo Pignone, a global diversified business with sales of US$1.6 billion and eight manufacturing locations. As CFO for Nuovo Pignone, he was responsible for the financial leadership of GE Power Systems Europe as well as the European Finance Council. He also served as CFO of GE's Transportation Systems business based in Pennsylvania, where he provided financial and business development leadership for a US$1.4 billion business serving the transportation industry worldwide.
Braukman holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a major in accounting from the University of Cincinnati.
Rodriguez: Successfully Managing International Regulatory Strategies
Chiquita also announced today that Manuel Rodriguez, 55, has been named senior vice president of government and international affairs. Rodriguez becomes a member of the company's Management Committee of senior executives who provide strategic counsel and report directly Aguirre.
"Manuel has demonstrated tremendous leadership in successfully managing complex governmental relationships and labor negotiations for Chiquita for many years," said Aguirre. "He has been instrumental in directing our strategy and conveying Chiquita's positions on key local and international regulatory and labor matters. This promotion is well-deserved."
Rodriguez is responsible for Chiquita's relationships with governmental and regulatory agencies worldwide, including directing the company's strategy with regard to the European Union as it moves toward a tariff-only banana import regime. In addition, Rodriguez will continue to manage the company's labor relations, in particular, its relationships with key international and regional unions, including the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) and Coordinating Committee of Banana Workers' Unions (COLSIBA).
Most recently, Rodriguez served as Chiquita's vice president of government affairs and associate general counsel. He began his career with the company in 1980, having served in various senior legal and labor relations positions. Rodriguez earned his master of laws degree from Columbia University and his J.D. degree from the University of Puerto Rico. He received a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a certificate in Latin American Studies from St. Joseph's College.
Operational Leaders for Fresh Cut Fruit and Asia to Leave Company
The company announced two additional management changes: Jill Albrinck, senior vice president of Fresh Cut Fruit, and Chris Augustijns, president of Chiquita Fresh Group - Asia, are leaving the company.
Albrinck joined Chiquita in 2002 to lead the company's strategy and new business development efforts, bringing with her an excellent record of accomplishment with turnarounds and corporate growth strategies. In this role, she also led the company's performance improvement program that delivered valuable cost reductions. Later, Albrinck assumed the leadership for the company's Processed Fruit Ingredients business and Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit, a new business that was launched in the Midwestern United States in November 2003.
"Jill has made significant contributions to Chiquita since the company emerged from bankruptcy more than two years ago, and we owe her a great deal as she helped advance the company's turnaround and led the launch of one of our growth opportunities - Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit," Aguirre said. "Our Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit business is up and running with good feedback from customers and consumers. We are now looking for a new leader to take this business to the next level." The company announced that Aguirre would lead this business on an interim basis until new leadership is named.
Augustijns, hired at Chiquita in July from Coca-Cola, resigned his position to return to Coke. The soft-drink company pursued Augustijns after his departure and convinced him to return to Coca-Cola.
"We will continue our growth plans in the region with the strong team currently in place," said Aguirre. "We still have a robust operation in Asia and an excellent joint venture partner. We will reopen our search for a new leader for this business immediately."
Chiquita Brands International is a leading international marketer, producer and distributor of high-quality bananas and other fresh produce, which are sold primarily under Chiquita(R) premium brands and related trademarks. The company is one of the largest banana producers in the world and a major supplier of bananas in Europe and North America. The company also distributes and markets fresh-cut fruit and other branded, value-added fruit products. Additional information is available at http://www.chiquita.com .
/Web site: http://www.chiquita.com/
SOURCE Chiquita Brands International, Inc.