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Chiquita Restructures Fresh Express Management Team

CINCINNATI -- Chiquita Brands International, Inc. has named Tanios E. Viviani president of Fresh Express, the Salinas, Calif.-based bagged-salad maker it acquired last month for $855 million.

Viviani replaces Mark Drever, who will who will stay with the company as part of a management committee that will help with the transition and help 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 United States," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and c.e.o. "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."

Commenting on his new role, Drever said: "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. 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."

Noting Drever's "wealth of experience and…unmatched insights that are pivotal to our business success," Aguirre said: "We look forward to his continuing advice and counsel. 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."

The company's executive team will report to Viviani. The team includes Brian McLaughlin, c.f.o; Scott Komar, e.v.p.; Rich Berry and Jeff Lemmon; v.p.'s of business management; Jim Gallagher, s.v.p. of sales; Jim Lugg, president of TransFRESH; and John Johnston, v.p. of emerging business.

Susan Ajeska and Margaret Scattini, e.v.p.'s for operations/food safety and marketing/business management, respectively, are stepping down but will continue to serve the company as part-time advisers.

"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.

With over 23 years of professional experience, Viviani 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 United States, China, and Brazil.

Viviani was a key leader for Procter & Gamble in both China and Brazil, having founded its first service business venture in the United States while also leading a global alliance of manufacturers on behalf of the company in North America, Europe, and Japan.

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