September 22, 2023
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Calavo hires new CEO


Calavo Growers, a Santa Paula-based distributor of avocados and other produce, has hired a new CEO, after a period of instability that saw three permanent or interim leaders hold the job since early 2020.

Brian Kocher

The new CEO, effective Feb. 1, is Brian Kocher, Calavo said in a Dec. 22 news release. He will take over from the current interim CEO, Steve Hollister. The previous permanent CEO, James Gibson, retired unexpectedly in September, a year and a half after he took the helm from longtime CEO Lee Cole.

Kocher joins Calavo from the Castellini Group of Companies, another produce distributor, where he was president and CEO. He has also been CFO, chief operating offer and interim CEO of the banana distributor Chiquita Brands International.

Calavo shares closed at $42.56 on Dec. 22, down 1.2% from the day before. The stock is down 38% since the beginning of the year, and dropped 17% in a single day in September, when Gibson announced his retirement.