Calavo Growers has appointed Brian Kocher as its new president and chief executive, effective 1 February.

Calavo chairman, J. Link Leavens, said the US-headquartered avocado and value-added fresh food company conducted a thorough search for the role, including interviews with several candidates.

“Brian Kocher was the clear choice of our board of directors to become the next president and chief executive officer of Calavo Growers,” said Leavens.

“Brian’s deep knowledge, expertise and operational leadership in the fresh produce industry as a CEO, COO and CFO make him uniquely qualified to lead Calavo forward and position our company for growth. We are delighted to welcome Brian to our talented team.”

Prior to joining Calavo, Kocher served as president and chief executive of the Castellini Group, one of the largest distributors of fresh produce in the US.

Before his time at Castellini, Kocher held several executive roles, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer and interim chief executive at Chiquita Brands International.

“I am thrilled and privileged to join and lead Calavo for its next phase of growth and transformation,” Kocher said.

“I'm excited about the actions and initiatives that are in place and look forward to accelerating the impact of those initiatives while capitalizing on consumer trends that support Calavo's growth. Most importantly, I am honored to join a team focused on the success of our customers and each other.'

Kocher will succeed Steve Hollister, who has served as Calavo’s interim chief executive since September. Hollister will return to serving as an independent member of the company's board of directors on 1 February.