Jeffrey D. Gargiulo has been unanimously confirmed to be president and chief executive officer of Sunkist Growers Inc., the country's oldest and largest citrus marketing cooperative. His selection followed a five-month, nationwide search.

“Jeff is a talented businessman and brings with him a wealth of knowledge,” said Sunkist's Chairman Al Williams. “He is innovative, energetic and experienced. Jeff is widely known and well respected in the produce industry and has extensive expertise in international trade. I can think of no one better equipped to lead Sunkist on its path of continued growth.”

Gargiulo's experience makes him uniquely capable of leading the world's best-known citrus marketer, said Williams. “Jeff s background gives new meaning to the phrase ‘been there, done that’ - he has been a grower, packer and marketer of perishable produce.”

Gargiulo started his produce career as a picking boss for Naples Fruit and Vegetable Co. in Naples, Fla., moving on to the tomato sales desk, and soon becoming the general manager of the 500-acre tomato farm.”

As CEO of Gargiulo, Inc., one of the largest producers of fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States, he took the company from a local tomato producer to a global force, achieving the No. 1 market share in the fresh tomato market. An expert in brand marketing, Gargiulo is well known for developing marketing campaigns that truly showcase the product.

Under his direction, the firm created the premier tomato research breeding program in the industry and expanded research on worldwide seed production. Gargiulo also introduced crop diversification, capturing the No. 2 market share in strawberries and raspberries, as well as marketing imported grapes, nectarines, plums, pears and peaches from Chile.