(UPDATED COVERAGE, May 2) Sun World International LLC has hired managers and growers for five new positions and added three departments to its business structure.
Michael McCartney was named chief operations officer for the Bakersfield, Calif.-based grower and marketer of grapes, tree fruit, citrus and peppers. The former vice president of operations for Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC has been consulting Sun World on food safety and consumer satisfaction for about a year, chief executive officer David Dever said.
Cynthia Klein, former general manager at Monarch Nut Co. and Munger Brothers, was named director of northern distribution. She’ll have responsibility for postharvest processes.
Jon Wong, former national transportation manager at Naturipe, heads logistics and transportation, one of three new departments at Sun World. The others are innovation and special projects — overseen by food safety and quality assurance director Claudio Olave — and corporate responsibility.
Tree fruit grower Saul Acosta and grape grower Joe Medina were also hired.
Executive vice president David Marguleas, who heads Sun World’s licensing, variety and business development, is taking additional responsibility for the company’s Coachella farming and packing operations.
“It’s a change in business strategy and an expansion,” Dever said. “We’re growing now and we’ll continue to have pretty extensive growth, so we are preparing for that.”
Sun World’s growth is happening in both California and global operations.
“To really take advantage of all we’re going to be doing with our assets, we hired some powerful managers and operational people to leverage those into some extensive profit increases over the next five to eight years,” Dever said.
In Coachella Valley, Sun World is doubling strawberry acreage and adding to grape acreage, Dever said, as well as packing and marketing more citrus.
“In the San Joaquin Valley, we’re going to be planting new acreage over the next three years to take advantage of the value of our raw land,” Dever said. “We have a lot of land that isn’t planted and we want to optimize its value.”
On grapes, Sun World intends to increase plantings of proprietary varieties such as Scarlotta and Autumn Crisp.
“Those two have a lot of potential,” Dever said. The company expects to start production of grapes in the Coachella Valley and Mexico in mid-May.
International operations are growing by double digits annually, he said. They center on South America and South Africa, with some in Europe.
“We want to have the right product for the right customer at the right price,” Dever said. “Everything is focused on that. So I’m bringing in people to help us do that, who understand consumers and retailers and how to transform us. It’s an aggressive and ambitious plan. We’re excited but we have a lot of work to do to really form this into what we want it to be.”