(UPDATED COVERAGE, Nov. 8) Chief executive officer Steve Grinstead is retiring after eight years at foodservice distributor Pro*Act.

Max Yeater, president of Monterey, Calif.-based Pro*Act, will assume most of Grinstead’s duties, said Mary Wright-Rana, director of marketing.

“I will continue to volunteer for the good of the industry,” Grinstead, 53, said in an e-mail. “The produce industry has been my lifelong passion.”

His retirement is effective the week ending Nov. 9, Grinstead said.

During Grinstead’s tenure, the company diversified its sourcing, customer base and service offerings.

UPDATED: Pro*Act CEO retires“Not only did Steve help us create our corporate values, he led Pro*Act by personally exemplifying them,” chairman Gene Loffredo said in a news release. “He leaves our organization well positioned for future growth with a leadership team that is extremely qualified to execute the companies’ business and strategic plans.”

“As I look back on the past years serving this great organization, I can’t help but be proud of how far we have come and the culture that we have built,” Grinstead said in the release. “It has been a tremendously rewarding experience.”

Grinstead joined Pro*Act in June 2004 when the distributor named him president.

He began his career in 1974 sacking groceries in a Tampa, Fla., Winn-Dixie store.

In the early 1980s he was director of produce for Super Warehouse Foods in the Houston suburb of Baytown, Texas. From 1982 to 1991, he was general manager of Houston wholesaler Grocers Supply Produce Co.

Grinstead helped found Dallas-based fresh produce distributor and repacker Fresh America Corp., where he was a director, president, chief operating officer and chief executive officer for nine years. He left to become chief operating officer of Dallas-based Standard Fruit and Vegetable Co. Inc., serving at Standard from 1999 to 2003.

After Fresh Del Monte Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., bought Standard, Grinstead became vice president of Del Monte’s central operations for North America. That included the company’s fresh-cut and repack operations.