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First non-family member to co-direct Special Fruit

Special Fruit, worldwide importer and distributor of special types of fruit, vegetables and exotic specialities, is preparing itself for the future and has therefore opted to reinforce the company management. For this they have called upon Tom van Herwaarden, the first non-family member who will head the Belgian company. Together with Patrick Maes - brother of founder François Maes and already at the head of the company for 28 years - Tom is becoming co-CEO of Special Fruit.

Tom van Herwaarden is no newcomer to the field: he has many years of experience as a commercial leader in a wide range of sectors and moreover has specific experience with the fruit and vegetables market, namely at Chiquita. Together with Patrick Maes he is now becoming co-CEO of Special Fruit. As Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Tom is taking control over the commercial activities of Special Fruit, while Patrick is assuming the position of Chief Operations Officer (COO).

“With his expertise, Tom is a perfect complement within Special Fruit and therefore the best guarantee for the long-term success of the company”, says Patrick. As co-CEOs, Patrick and Tom will both assure the growth of the company, because they are working from their own strengths. In this way they will jointly lead Special Fruit to a fruitful and successful future.

Growing turnover in a changing market
The new structure is a direct response to the changing fruit and vegetables market. “On the distribution side we’re seeing changes with a major impact, such as retailers and suppliers who are working more closely together”, Patrick explains. “And undoubtedly in the coming years more 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 during the first half of 2017 by 6% compared to the first 6 months of 2016. Over the last 15 years the turnover has even quintupled.

“We are enormously proud of this achievement”, says Patrick. "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: www.specialfruit.be

Publication date: 8/8/2017


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