Spokesman Andrew Ciafardini said “other senior leader changes will be announced when appropriate.”
Changes were apparently under way months ago. In February, chief financial officer Michael Sims left and Brian Kocher moved into that position.
Kocher said the company should see an annual savings of $4 million by moving and consolidating staff. Costs of relocating the corporate headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte this year were offset by incentives, he said.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce helped put together the incentive package to attract Chiquita. Chamber president Bob Morgan said the company’s staff cuts could put the cash incentives in jeopardy.
“If the jobs do not come to Charlotte, the incentives do not get paid,” Morgan said in a prepared statement. “The headquarters must remain in Charlotte for 10 years, the average salary must be more than $100,000 and the company needs to keep 90% of its jobs in the city for 10 years.”
Another key component in Chiquita’s restructuring is the consolidation of three salad plants in Franklin, Ill., into one plant in Streamwood, Ill. Chiquita broke ground on the new plant in June. Ciafardini said it should be operating by February 2013.
The company has been banking on packaged salads to boost its bottom line, but “quality issues” have plagued the segment, said Kocher. He did not detail the quality issues. Those issues are being addressed and unprofitable products will be dropped from the line, he said.