Tom van Herwaarden (left) and Patrick Maes
A former Chiquita executive has joined Special Fruit as the co-CEO, joining forces with Patrick Maes.
“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 Maes, brother of Special Fruit founder, François Maes.
As the first non-family member to co-direct the company, Van Herwaarden has a wealth of experience as a commercial leader in a wide range of sectors, with specific experience within the fruit and vegetable market at Chiquita.
On top of being co-CEO, he will also take control of commercial activities as chief commercial officer and Patrick Maes also has the position of chief operations officer.
Maes adds how the new appointment is a response to the changing fresh produce market and will guide the company’s growing turnover in the years to come.
“On the distribution side we’re seeing changes with a major impact, such as retailers and suppliers who are working more closely together”, he says.
“And undoubtedly in the coming years more new and important developments will emerge that will have an impact on our business.”
Special Fruit says it has increased turnover 6% in the first half of this year compared to 2016, overcoming “challenges in the market.”
“We are enormously proud of this achievement”, adds Maes.
“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."