Craig Mitchell
Craig Mitchell

In 1977 Elvis died, Microsoft was born and Craig Mitchell began what would turn into a 37-year career with Chiquita Brands International Inc.

Mitchell plans to retire at the end of this year, setting his sights on family time and fishing.

Chiquita records show Mitchell hired on in 1977 as a merchandising specialist in Minneapolis, working with retailers in several Midwestern states. The company’s signature fruit was selling at retail for about 20 cents a pound.

The following year Chiquita promoted Mitchell to district manager for the central western U.S. and he relocated to St. Louis.

“Craig excelled at developing new business and maintaining existing business with a variety of retail chains, wholesale accounts and co-ops. During his career, Craig traveled across Central and South America and became an expert in all aspects of the banana industry,” according to a news release.

Mitchell’s successes from his St. Louis base led to another promotion, this time to regional manager for the western U.S. and Canada. He moved to Seattle for the job and has stayed in the city and the position ever since.

“It has truly been an honor and a privilege to work with Craig,” Chiquita’s vice president of banana sales-west Jack Howell said in the release.

“His impact at Chiquita, and more importantly, his character will leave a lasting legacy. Those who have had the pleasure to work with Craig are all better off because of it.”