(UDATED COVERAGE, 10:27 a.m., Feb. 14) Salinas, Calif.-based Growers Express has named a new vice president.

Merritt Bruce, a Grower’s Express employee since 1990, takes over the position of vice president of sales, said Marci Allen, a spokeswoman for the company.

Bruce, who worked most recently as director of national accounts, succeeds Woody Johnson, who is retiring but will still advise the company, Allen said.

Bruce has helped Growers Express expand its customer base and increase sales in its Green Giant Fresh line, Jamie Strachan, chief executive officer, said in a news release.

Most recently, Bruce led the company’s sales and marketing campaign promoting Green Giant Fresh stand-up pouches.

“Merritt’s strong integrity, competence and friendly smile have been integral in our company’s forward momentum during his time with us,” Strachan said. “I am certain that as vice president of sales, he will continue to drive the progress and innovation that our customers have come to depend on.”