DINUBA, Calif. — Sheri Mierau, president of the Reedley-based California Tree Fruit Agreement, plans to leave the organization at the end of the year to become vice president of sales and marketing effective Jan. 1 for Fruit Patch Sales LLC, Dinuba.
Mierau’s stone fruit marketing expertise and her retail experience proved to be the perfect combination for the position, said Scott Wallace, president and chief executive officer for Fruit Patch.
“We share the vision that we shouldn’t be talking about balancing supply and demand, but rather how to grow the demand,” said Wallace, who joined Fruit Patch July 13. “The addition of Sheri will allow us to take grower returns to the next level in 2010 and for many years to come.”
Mierau was vice president of marketing for the tree fruit agreement for three years before taking over as president in January 2007. The decision to leave the organization was not an easy one, she said, but the opportunity was timely.
“I’m truly excited about getting back into sales and marketing,” Mierau said. “It’s time for me to go back to what I truly love.”
Before joining the Tree Fruit Agreement, Mierau was the director of produce for Ahold USA Inc., Chantilly, Va. Earlier in her career, she worked in sales and buying positions for Safeway, Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., and Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Working for Fruit Patch is not new to Mierau, a Reedley-area native and the daughter of growers. Her relationship with the company dates back to her teenage years when she spent five summers working in the Fruit Patch packing shed, she said.
During the past three years, Mierau has overseen a member-directed restructuring of the tree fruit agreement to concentrate on consumer and category research, trade education and industry resources while abandoning the domestic market development program.
“It was a great experience to work with the whole industry I grew up in,” she said.
The organization’s executive committee is scheduled to meet Dec. 16 to discuss plans for selecting Mierau’s successor. Among the options is to retain an executive search firm, Mierau said. The process of determining her successor could take two to three months, she said.