Santa Paula, California-based Calavo Growers Inc., a global leader in the avocado and value-added fresh food industries, has appointed Steven Hollister as interim CEO following the Sept. 9 retirement of CEO James Gibson. The board has engaged an executive search firm to identify Gibson’s successor.
Hollister has been a member of Calavo’s Board of Directors since 2008. In addition to his role of interim CEO, Hollister will also serve as interim CFO until a new CFO is appointed, and Farha Aslam will return to her role as an independent director. Gibson will continue as an employee of Calavo through Sept. 30, to assist in transitioning his job responsibilities.
“I am proud to have had the honor and opportunity to lead Calavo and would like thank all of our employees for their commitment and service to the company. We have accomplished a great deal together, and I wish them the best success in the future,” said Gibson.
“Jim’s contribution to building Calavo into what it is today has been enormous. He has served as CEO since February of 2020, and before that was president of Renaissance Food Group, a company he co-founded and that Calavo acquired more than 10 years ago. On behalf of our leadership team and board of directors, we want to thank Jim for his vision and leadership and wish him well in his retirement,” said J. Link Leavens, chairman of the board of directors.
“Steve is a very accomplished executive with significant expertise in both finance and agriculture, and a deep understanding of our business, brand, operations and people. His leadership and experience make him the perfect person to lead Calavo through this transition,” Leavens said.
Hollister has been a managing member of Rocking Spade LLC, an investor and developer with interests in ranching and commercial properties, since 2001. Previously, Hollister was VP of Sunrise Mortgage and Investment Co., general manager of Niven Family Wine Estates, chief operating officer of Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard and Santa Barbara County Wine Center and SVP of Central Coast Farm Credit.