Calavo Growers Board of Directors Appoints Lee E. Cole as President and Chief Executive Officer


SANTA PAULA, Calif., March 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Calavo Growers, Inc. (Nasdaq: CVGW) (“Calavo” or the “Company”), a global avocado-industry leader and provider of convenient, ready-to-eat fresh food, today announced that Lee E. Cole is returning to lead Calavo as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Cole has agreed to lead the Company for three years with the goal of returning the company to a position of growth and shareholder value creation. Mr. Cole succeeds Brian W. Kocher, who has stepped down from his role.

Mr. Cole served as Calavo’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 1999 until his retirement on January 31, 2020. He served as a Director of Calavo for 39 years, 28 as Chairman of the Board.

“On behalf of Calavo and all of our employees, we thank Brian for all his efforts and wish him success in his future endeavors,” said Steven Hollister, Chairman of the Board of Calavo. “We would also like to welcome back Lee Cole as President and CEO. Lee was responsible for bringing Calavo into the public market and making it one of the largest avocado companies in the world. His knowledge of the avocado business is second to none, and we anticipate great things for the Company and our employees as we move forward.”

“I am honored to be asked to lead Calavo once again and look forward to generating value for our shareholders,” Mr. Cole said.

About Calavo Growers, Inc.
Calavo Growers, Inc. (Nasdaq: CVGW) is a global leader in quality produce, including avocados, tomatoes and papayas, and a pioneer of healthy fresh-cut fruit, vegetables and prepared foods. Calavo products are sold under the trusted Calavo brand name, proprietary sub-brands, private label and store brands.

Founded in 1924, Calavo has a rich culture of constant innovation, sustainable practices and market growth. The company serves retail grocery, foodservice, club stores, mass merchandisers, food distributors and wholesalers worldwide. Calavo is headquartered in Santa Paula, California, with processing plants and packing facilities throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Learn more about The Family of Fresh™ at

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains statements relating to future events and results of Calavo (including shareholder value creation) that are "forward-looking statements," as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These statements are based on our current expectations and are not promises or guarantees. If any of the risks or uncertainties ever materialize or the assumptions prove incorrect, the results of Calavo may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. The use of words such as "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "projects," "intends," "plans" and "believes," among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: the ability of our new management team to work together successfully, the impact of operational and restructuring initiatives on our business, results of operations, and financial condition, including uncertainty as to whether the desired effects will be achieved; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, results of operations, and financial condition, including, but not limited to, disruptions in the manufacturing of our products and the operations of the related supply chains supporting our ability to deliver our products to consumers, impacts on our employees and uncertainty regarding our ability to implement health and safety measures for our employees, uncertainties regarding consumer demand for our products, impact on our foodservice customers, increased costs, the impact of governmental trade restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 and the possible adverse impact of COVID-19 on our goodwill and other intangible assets; our ability to raise prices, particularly in our Prepared segment, to offset increases in costs of goods sold, and the impact of such price increases on future net sales; seasonality of our business; sensitivity of our business to changes in market prices of avocados and other agricultural products and other raw materials including fuel, packaging and paper; potential disruptions to our supply chain; risks associated with potential future acquisitions, including integration; potential exposure to data breaches and other cyber-attacks on our systems or those of our suppliers or customers; dependence on large customers; dependence on key personnel, and access to labor necessary for us to render services; susceptibility to wage inflation; potential for labor disputes; reliance on co-packers for a portion of our production needs; competitive pressures, including from foreign growers; risks of recalls and food-related injuries to our customers; changing consumer preferences; the impact of environmental regulations, including those related to climate change; risks associated with the environment and climate change, especially as they may affect our sources of supply; our ability to develop and transition new products and services and enhance existing products and services to meet customer needs; risks associated with doing business internationally (including possible restrictive U.S. and foreign governmental actions, such as restrictions on transfers of funds and COVID-19 and trade protection measures such as import/export/customs duties, tariffs and/or quotas and currency fluctuations); risks associated with receivables from, loans to and/or equity investments in unconsolidated entities; volatility in the value of our common stock; the impact of macroeconomic trends and events; and the resolution of pending investigations, legal claims and tax disputes, including an assessment imposed by the Mexican Tax Administrative Service (the “SAT”) and our defenses against collection activities commenced by the SAT.

For a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties and other risks and uncertainties that we face, please see the risk factors described in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and any subsequent updates that may be contained in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made only as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Julie Kegley, Senior Vice PresidentThomas Federl, VP Communications, Marketing & ESG
Financial Profiles, Inc.Calavo Growers, Inc.