(UPDATED COVERAGE, 6:05 p.m.) The Hass Avocado Board has named Emiliano Escobedo, who formerly represented Mexican avocado exporters, as executive director.
Escobedo stepped down as Los Angeles-based director of global marketing and U.S. operations for the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacán (APEAM), a position he had since 2008, to join the board. He represented Mexican avocados at APEAM in various roles since 2005.
His job is to oversee the Hass Avocado Board’s efforts to build demand for more than 1.4 billion pounds of the commodity on the U.S. market. Escobedo is responsible for research and marketing programs in addition to operations, management and strategic direction.
“I look forward to working with the board and stakeholders around the world to advance our strategic priorities, to position Hass not only as a leader among avocados but in produce,” he told The Packer.
“With his produce industry background and experience, specifically related to avocados, we are confident that he is the right person to lead and advance the strategic priorities that will ensure HAB’s leadership position within the industry,” Jimmy Lotufo, board chairman and senior sourcing representative at Rosemont Farms, a C.H. Robinson subsidiary, said in a news release.
Escobedo succeeds Jose Luis Obregon at the Irvine, Calif.-based board, effective Jan. 16. He was introduced to board members at a regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 12.
After more than six years with the board, Obregon resigned at the end of October to become president of IPR Fresh, Nogales, Ariz. IPR Fresh is owned and operated by his brothers, Alvaro and Enrique Obregon.
Representatives of the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association and the California Avocado Commission also praised Escobedo’s selection.
Quality standards will be a board priority, according to Escobedo.
“We’re looking at data systems that will enable us to provide a better product,” he said. “We want a system that enables all countries to have a proper understanding of what’s going on in the marketplace so they can make decisions with precise information.
“It would be an industry-driven initiative led by the Hass Avocado Board, that would benefit all the sourcing countries and California. We’re not ready to disclose details, it will help the industry do a better job of delivering flavor.”
“A lot of people don’t realize there’s so much more you can do with avocados, even with guacamole,” he said. “The hass has a high oil content, healthy fats and oil, and that’s what makes guacamole creamy.”
Guacamole tips are part of the board’s Super Bowl-related marketing campaign.
APEAM taps interim marketing director
At APEAM, Eduardo Serena is succeeding Escobedo. Serena has been named interim marketing director for the Avocados from Mexico brand.
He was APEAM’s business development manager for the last eight years. Before that, Serena operated U.S. Department of Agriculture programs in avocado orchards and packing houses in Michoacán and was a logistics organizer for the domestic market.
“We are delighted to appoint Eduardo to this role and know that his previous experience and background in the avocado industry make him the best person to lead APEAM during this transition,” Ricardo Vega, APEAM chairman, said in a news release.
“We wish (Escobedo) the very best at HAB and are grateful that while he may not be working for us, he’ll be working for the avocado category which benefits all of us,” Vega said.
APEAM represents about 7,000 growers and 35 packers in Mexico’s state of Michoacán.