Belgium-based Special Fruit, a global importer and distributor of special types of fruit, vegetables and exotic specialities, has announced Tom van Herwaarden as its new co-chief executive, alongside Patrick Maes, the brother of company founder François Maes.
van Herwaarden is the first non-family member to be named in this position, having held several leadership positions in a variety of firms, including Chiquita.
As co-CEO, van Herwaarden will also take on the role of chief commercial officer, while Patrick Maes, who has been with the company for 28 years, will assume the role of chief operations officer.
“With his expertise, Tom is a perfect complement within Special Fruit, and is therefore the best guarantee for the long-term success of the company”, says Maes.
The announcement is a direct response to the changing fruit and vegetables market, and will help Special Fruit 'prepare for the future', the company said in a statement.
“On the distribution side we’re seeing changes with a major impact, such as retailers and suppliers working more closely together”, says Maes. “Undoubtedly, in the coming years, new and important developments will emerge that will have an impact on our business.”
Despite the challenges in the market, the turnover of Special Fruit grew by 6% during the first half of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2016. Over the last 15 years, the turnover of the company has quintupled.
“We are enormously proud of this achievement”, says Maes. "At Special Fruit, however, we’re always looking forward. What trends do we see and how can we proactively respond to them in order to keep our company healthy and dynamic? With Tom coming on board, we’re strengthening our strategic capacity."
For more information, visit www.specialfruit.com
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.