November 26, 2022
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Calavo CFO to step down

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Calavo Growners, a Santa Paula-based distributor of avocados and other produce, announced May 3 that its CFO will be leaving the company.

When Mariela Matute steps down on May 19 and CEO Brian Kocher takes over as interim CFO, Calavo will have its fifth permanent or interim CFO in the past two years.

John Lindeman left the company in March 2020 after five years as CFO. The next permanent CFO was Kevin Manion, who was replaced by Matute in October 2021.

Matute had previously been the CFO of Amazon’s business-to-business division. She is leaving Calavo now for a job at another company, Calavo said in its May 3 news release.

“While this news is unfortunate, it won’t deter or delay our efforts to improve our operating performance,” Kocher said in the news release. “We have processes that Mariela helped establish that will ensure the smooth continuity of our business. We have a talented team that is more than capable of stepping in and stepping up as we search for a new CFO.”

There has been instability in the CEO’s office at Calavo, as well. Kocher took over Feb. 1, after the previous CEO, Jim Gibson, stepped down abruptly.

“I remain confident about our future,” Kocher said in his May 3 statement announcing Matute’s departure. “Calavo has delivered sequential improvement in our business, and we continue to make progress. I am as excited today as I was yesterday about our opportunities and our ability to deliver on our vision and goals to our shareholders.”

Calavo shares closed at $35.40 on May 3, and the price did not move significantly in after-hours trading, after the CFO’s departure was announced. Shares are down more than 50% over the past year.