Calavo Growers President and CEO Lee Cole has announced plans to retire in early 2020, kicking off a search for his successor by the Santa Paula avocado growing and packing operation. Cole plans to remain on the company’s board of directors as chairman and support its relationships with its suppliers and investors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in late October.
Calavo has begun interviewing new CEO candidates, the filing said. Cole, 78, has served as CEO since 1999 and led the board as chairman since 1982. As of Jan. 31, he owned around 3 percent of outstanding shares in the company, and he serves as chairman of the board of lemon grower and distributor Limoneira, in which Calavo has a 9.7 percent ownership stake.
Shares for the company have dipped 5 percent since the announcement, opening at $85.84 on November 11th.