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Sun World announces new strategy, key team members

Sun World International LLC, a leading grower, marketer and breeder of premium varieties of fruits and vegetables, announced plans to leverage its people, natural resources and proprietary brands behind what the Bakersfield, CA-based company calls a "world-class" business strategy defined and evaluated by its customers.

The strategy, which includes an expansion of staff expertise and production, will be driven by the organization's core values: executional excellence, innovation, authenticity, collaboration and teamwork, according to a company press release.

"It's an alignment objective to deliver the freshest product — grapes, tree fruit, citrus and peppers — to our customers and ultimately the end consumer through a world-class supply chain and customer collaboration," Chief Executive Officer David Dever said in the press release. "The focus is on our people, product and portfolio optimization, multi-channel customer strategies, business optimization through technology and systems, and embracing and accelerating innovation.

"We're committing ourselves to measure, monitor and improve our processes to drive continuous improvement and empower our people," Mr. Dever added. "We're embracing a learning environment to challenge the norm and encourage innovative behaviors."

Three new departments have been added to support the world-class strategy: logistics and transportation, innovation and special projects, and corporate responsibility. The company is planting substantial acreage of its newest proprietary grape varieties in both the Coachella Valley and San Joaquin Valley.

Recently, Sun World hired five new industry experts:

  • Michael McCartney, an industry authority in supply chain logistics, food traceability and food safety, will take on a new position of chief operations officer.
  • Cynthia Klein, formerly with Monarch Nut Co./Munger Bros., will strengthen the company's post-harvest processes as director of northern distribution.
  • Jon Wong, former national transportation manager at Naturipe Farms, will head logistics and transportation.
  • Farmers Saul Acosta (tree fruit) and Joe Medina (grapes) have been hired to add depth to the agronomy team.

Sun World Executive Vice President David Marguleas, who leads the company's licensing, variety development and business development activities, will take on the responsibility of overseeing the company's Coachella farming and packing operations.

"It's an ambitious plan, but we're building strategy and structure on a foundation of strong assets, which, with this plan and the commitment of our people, will take Sun World to the next level," Mr. Dever, who was named CEO a year ago, added in the press release.