(July 30, 1:15 p.m.) Gary James, the chief operating officer of Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., has moved to L&M Companies Inc., Raleigh, N.C. as its vice president and chief operating officer.

James started in his new position July 28.

In a July 25 news release, Southern Specialties stated that James plans to help the importer, grower, processor and distributor of Central American, South American, Mexican and North American produce in the interim as it conducts an external search for a successor.

“On behalf of the board and employees of Southern Specialties, we wish to express our appreciation to Gary for his contributions to Southern Specialties’ success over the years,” said Robert Colescott, Southern Specialties president and chief operating officer, in the release. “His experience, wisdom, and character have contributed to Southern Specialties’ growth and continued success. We wish him fulfillment and success in his new endeavor.”

James, who joined Southern Specialties in 2005, has worked 30 years for retailers such H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, and Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Mich.