Sunkist Growers has named Kevin P. Fiori to lead the citrus marketing cooperative’s domestic and international fresh fruit sales and marketing division. As vice president, sales and marketing, Fiori will succeed Russell L. Hanlin who assumes the presidency of Sunkist Nov. 1, 2008. Fiori, highly regarded in both the agricultural industry and the produce trade, is leaving Dole Food Co. where he served for 29 years, most recently as senior vice president, agriculture operations for Dole Fresh Vegetables.

“Kevin has extensive sales experience with branded commodity products,” said Russ Hanlin, Sunkist’s executive vice president and president-elect. “We could not have found anyone who fit more perfectly into our operations. Kevin has great leadership skills and is a proven team builder. His career includes sales and marketing responsibility for vegetables, fruits and flowers in both the domestic and international markets and he also has valuable expertise in global operations.”

Fiori began his career at Dole as a sales representative in 1979, moving up quickly in Dole Fresh Fruit selling grapes, pineapples, bananas and mushrooms. He left Dole briefly to become the sales manager at Ocean Garden, a company owned by the Mexican government, but was quickly recruited back by Sun County Produce, a Dole subsidiary.

He moved to Dole Citrus in 1985, his steady upward progression culminating in a six-year term as vice president of sales and marketing of North America. Following the December 1998 freeze, Dole sold its citrus business and Fiori was named vice president, sales and marketing for Dole North American Fruit in 1999 where he helped open Dole’s South African grape and citrus division. In this position he also managed the North America sales divisions for the Chilean and California grape and northwest apple operations. Two years later Fiori transferred to Dole Fresh Flowers to help turn that business around. During his tenure, Dole Flowers became the number one vendor with their major customers.

Fiori returned to Dole Fresh Vegetables as vice president of commodity and foodservice sales where he grew both the retail and foodservice customer base, increasing the foodservice business by 50 percent. In 2006, he was named senior vice president, agriculture operations, responsible for the growing, sourcing and harvesting operations in the U.S., Peru and Mexico.

“I have great admiration for the strength of the Sunkist brand and the capabilities of the team,” said Fiori. “I also feel fortunate to have developed relationships with many within Sunkist’s sales and packinghouse operations and have the greatest degree of respect for their capabilities and character. My wife and I are excited about becoming a part of the Sunkist family.”

Kevin and his wife will be making their home in Southern California, near Sunkist’s Sherman Oaks headquarters.