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Claire H. Smith

Sunkist Growers Announces Succession Plan for Presidency


March 19, 2008

Sherman Oaks, Calif. (March 19, 2008)…..The Board of Directors of Sunkist Growers today unanimously elected Russell L. Hanlin executive vice president of the country’s oldest and largest citrus marketing cooperative. Hanlin will assume the office of president and chief executive officer on November 1, 2008 when current President and CEO Timothy J. Lindgren retires.

“After two years of exceptional service, President Tim Lindgren has announced his plan to retire this October,” said Sunkist Board Chairman Nick Bozick. “We are fortunate that Tim was available to lead at Sunkist at a challenging time in our business. During his tenure, we not only weathered a freeze, we also realigned our operations to drive greater returns to our growers at lower costs.

“We are also fortunate to have in place the right individual to assume the presidency when President Lindgren retires,” Bozick added. Russ Hanlin, a 30-year veteran of Sunkist, is currently the Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “Russ knows Sunkist. He has experience in every aspect of our sales and marketing operations,” said Bozick. “He also knows citrus. His expertise has made him a valued participant in industry groups.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Hanlin began his Sunkist career in 1978 as a buyer for Sunkist’s manufacturing and supply affiliate, Fruit Growers Supply Company, moving quickly to Manager of Packinghouse Supplies. He then joined Sunkist's Marketing Department as Assistant Manager, Sales Promotion, and in 1987 became Manager, Fresh Fruit Sales Administration working with Sunkist's sales offices in the retail and foodservice sales.

Hanlin’s responsibilities increased when he was named Manager, Domestic Sales Operations in 1994 and Director, International Sales in 1997, where he directed the cooperative extensive export sales programs. In 2002, he was named Vice President, International Sales and Sales Operations, assuming the additional responsibilities of pricing, crop management, sales pacing and other operating activities. In 2006, Hanlin became Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. In this capacity, he oversees the sales and marketing functions for fresh fruit and licensed products as well as Sunkist’s interests in its two LLCs – Sunkist Global Sourcing, and its fresh-cut products joint venture, Sunkist/Taylor LLC.

Hanlin is also leading the realignment of Sunkist’s sales organization and the refinement of its sales process. “While our sales and marketing program has served us well over the years,” said Bozick, “in the face of buyer consolidation, increasing competition from offshore fruit and the ever-changing global market, we felt a review and refinement of our program would be a good investment.” Hanlin and a team of key management personnel worked with one of the top strategic business consultants in the world, Monitor Group, to create the most effective and efficient go-to-market model possible.

“Sunkist growers are grateful to Tim Lindgren for his dedication and inspiration,” Bozick said. “He came out of retirement to take the helm at Sunkist when we needed him – and he had the vision and the expertise to move Sunkist forward.”

In 2007, Sunkist initiated a top-to-bottom review of every aspect of its business – something all good organizations should do to ensure that their business remains healthy and to clearly identify where they want to be in the future, Bozick said. “The goal of this in-depth analysis is not simply cutting costs but also evaluating how Sunkist might to do some things differently, making more efficient use of our assets and of our famous brand. The result of the realignment is better service, both for member-owners and customers, at significantly reduced costs.

“A dramatic 19% reduction in the fresh fruit assessments growers pay, the elimination of several standard charges and a per carton refund on all varieties this year are tangible results of the success of our ef

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