Sunkist Growers have announced Jeff Gargiulo has decided not to renew his contract and will leave the company in June after five years as president and chief executive officer. This will conclude a second stint of an initial three-year contract.

Gargiulo assumed the leadership post at Sunkist when he joined the company in June 2001. During his tenure he spearheaded the reorganization of several of the Sunkist divisions while turning the focus of the organization toward leveraging the Sunkist brand. He helped develop strategies for global sourcing and diversified products, including the introduction of Sunkist's pre-cut fruit program and its berry marketing program.

While speaking with his management team Gargiulo commented that “Sunkist is a great organization with a fabulous brand name and history, and the last two years have been particularly good for our growers. I am looking forward to new opportunities both in the wine and produce businesses.”

Gargiulo, at one time one of the largest tomato growers in the world before he sold the company to Monsanto, is owner of Gargiulo Vineyards in Napa, California.

“Jeff's leadership created a focus and energy on aligning Sunkist growers and packers with the changing demands of the marketplace — from the end consumer to key retail and foodservice customers,” said David Krause, who chairs the Sunkist board of directors. “He also was instrumental in the development of the California Citrus Growers Association to align the citrus industry in the west to grow the category. Jeff built a great management team and is leaving Sunkist in good hands,” said Krause.

When asked by his management team what he will miss the most, Gargiulo said, “working with a fabulous and talented group of managers, and also the many growers and board members who are the backbone of this great company.”

Sunkist will begin a search for a new CEO and will form the customary committee to oversee the search.