In keeping with a new strategic direction to focus on core businesses of bananas and salad mixes, Chiquita Brands International Inc. is consolidating divisions, and named Brian Kocher as chief operating officer to lead the effort.

The company is searching for a successor to Kocher’s chief financial officer position, and he will continue in that role until a hire is made.

The company is consolidating global sales, business units and food safety capabilities into a single organization which Kocher will lead. He will focus on increasing cash flow in core businesses and driving value through customer relationships, according to a news release.

Commercial operations will focus on global banana sales, and salad and healthy snacks in North America primarily through subsidiary Fresh Express Inc., Salinas, Calif.

Kocher joined Chiquita, Charlotte, N.C., in 2005. Before his position as chief financial officer, he was Chiquita’s president, North America; president, Europe and the Middle East and vice president, controller and chief accounting officer, according to the release.

He has more than 18 years of accounting, sales, finance and business process change expertise.