Spanish tomato cooperative Casi has elected Miguel Vargas as its new president. He replaces José María Andújar, who left under a cloud following allegations of improper management and misappropriation made against him by a former member earlier this year.
Vargas, who received 537 votes compared with Andújar’s 419 votes, will serve a term of four years at the helm of Europe’s biggest tomato cooperative.
Speaking after the results were announced, Vargas thanked his supporters and said he wanted the company to unite under his leadership and that he hoped he could make its members proud. He added that he hoped for a swift return to normality and said it was important going forward to ensure that all grower members to be treated with the same respect, regardless of how big or small they are.
Outlining his objectives for his term in office, Vargas said one of the main goals was to bring “greater transparency to the company’s direct sales and auction activities” as well as to introduce a more rigorous and efficient management style.
“One of the challenges we face is how to increase our market share in established markets and step up our presence in eastern Europe,” he stated.
Vargas also said he wanted to create an electoral commission to oversee future votes, and to set up a training programme for the cooperative’s younger members.
Andújar said he had been proud to serve the cooperative for the past four years. However, he acknowledged that he had “focused too much on the business and not enough on its people”. During his tenure, Andújar oversaw a major expansion programme into new markets, almost tripling the company’s profits from €1.6m to €4.2m.