Home » Chiquita Replaces CFO, Posts $16M Loss In 4Q
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Chiquita Replaces CFO, Posts $16M Loss In 4Q

Last updated on August 16th, 2012 at 11:51 am


Brands International Inc., which is moving its headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., from Cincinnati, Ohio, says Brian Kocher will replace Michael Sims as the company’s CFO.

Brian Kocher
Brian Kocher is Chiquita's new CFO.

The Charlotte Business Journal reports that Sims is leaving Chiquita this month to become CFO of AdvancePierre, a Cincinnati-based producer of cooked protein and sandwich products.

Chiquita is promoting Kocher from his post as president of Chiquita’s Europe and Middle East divisions.

The company announced its relocation to Charlotte late last year. It will establish its headquarters in about 150,000 s.f. in the NASCAR Plaza building in uptown Charlotte and is expected to bring a separate 18,000-s.f. research and development facility to Mecklenburg County in the next two years, the Journal says.

Chiquita has offered incentives to some executives to move to Charlotte.

The CFO change was revealed as Chiquita announced a $16 million loss for the fourth quarter on sales of $722 million. The loss was a 20 percent improvement from the previous year’s fourth quarter. Revenue was down 7 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Excluding extraordinary items, Chiquita’s loss per share was 12 cents in the fourth quarter, better than the 17-cent loss projected by analysts. Sales were below analyst expectations of $758 million, according to the Journal.

For the full year, Chiquita posted a $57 million profit on sales of $3.1 billion. Total revenue was down 3 percent for the year.

“We had a much better year in bananas, driven by higher pricing and volume in North America, and initial recovery in Europe,” Chiquita Chief Executive Fernando Aguirre said in a news release. “Our salads business did not perform as well as expected, and we’ve taken a number of corrective actions and adapted our structure and strategy to be more successful and profitable.”

In a conference call with analysts, Chiquita said it would expand its product offering for its Fresh Express salads, including the introduction of a private-label product for grocers. That’s something the company has previously resisted. Chiquita also will introduce organic products and whole-head lettuce.

“We are making these changes to respond to customer demand,” Aguirre said. “Even if we only achieve half of the market share we currently hold in retail branded sales … we would generate more than $300 million in new profitable revenue.”


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