Fernando Aguirre. Photo: Tanner Latham
Chiquita Brands International, which recently relocated its headquarters to Charlotte, announced plans to cut 300 jobs and replace CEO Fernando Aguirre. The company is restructuring to address lagging profits and save at least $60 million a year.
The impending job cuts will touch all levels of the company, but Aguirre told investors Chiquita is still committed to Charlotte. The company's "two recent long-term investments in the consolidation of salad facilities in the Mid-West and relocation to Charlotte included major financial savings and incentives that are in line with our new strategic model," said Aguirre on a conference call to announce the company's quarterly earnings. "We are dedicated in fulfilling commitments made to these projects."
Chiquita received nearly $23 million from state and local government to move its headquarters to Charlotte. The city kicked in $1.2 million of that - much of it cash to help with relocation costs. To qualify for the incentives, Chiquita committed to create 417 jobs in Charlotte.
Aguirre has been the face of the company's relocation to Charlotte, sporting locally-made bow ties and Tweeting frequently about his new city. He's been CEO of Chiquita for nearly nine years, but says it's time for "new talent to lead the company forward" in difficult times.