Vegetables & Fruits

Ocean Spray Taps James White to Replace Ousted Chief Executive

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Ocean Spray Cranberries has named James White (pictured above) as its interim chief executive officer following the firing of CEO and President Bobby Chacko for violating the Lakeville-Middleborough, Massachusetts, USA-headquartered company’s anti-harassment policy. Details of his alleged infraction were not specified.

“At Ocean Spray, we have pledged to hold everyone accountable and ensure that every decision is made in the best interest of the cooperative,” said Peter Dhillon, chairman of Ocean Spray’s board of directors. “It should be noted that Bobby Chacko helped to right the ship at Ocean Spray and set us on a new path. However, no matter how valuable someone’s contributions may be, we simply cannot accept a violation of our company policy.”

Bobby Chacko

Prior to joining Ocean Spray in 2017 Chacko held executive and managerial posts at a number of leading food and beverage companies, among them ABinbev, Coca-Cola and Mars Drinks.

Chacko’s interim replacement is a veteran chief executive officer with a 30-year track record at major global retail brands, including Jamba Juice, Safeway Stores, Inc., the Gillette Company, Nestlé-Purina PetCare and Coca-Cola. He joined Ocean Spray as a board advisor in 2019, and currently serves on the boards of Panera Bread Company-JAB Holdings, Simply Good Foods, and Schnucks, and as chairman of the board of Fair Trade USA.

“This is a time of great positive momentum at Ocean Spray. I have total confidence in the team and tremendous respect for the growers and families who have built this extraordinary cooperative over the past 90 years. Together we will keep the business moving forward on the path to success.”

Ocean Spray, an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the United States, Canada and Chile, is the world’s leading producer of cranberry juices, juice drinks and dried cranberries, and boasts the best-selling brand in the North American bottled juice category. Formed in 1930, the organization employs more than 2,000 people and operates nearly 20 cranberry receiving and processing facilities.

The freezing of berries for further processing is a major part of its activities. Last August Americold, its cold storage logistics partner, opened a new facility in Middleborough, Massachusetts, designed in partnership with Ocean Spray. Boasting capacity to rapidly freeze up to 79,000,000 pounds of cranberries, the site features three temperature-controlled rooms and a loading dock with 165,000 square feet of capacity.