(UPDATED COVERAGE, 10:55 a.m.) Michael Hively, director of operations at Vidalia onion shipper-grower, Bland Farms, has left the company.

Michael Hively leaves Bland FarmsHively, who joined the Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms LLC in June 2002, left his position Nov. 14, said Delbert Bland, president and founder.

Both Bland and Hively’s said the departure is amicable.

“We thought about it and Michael was extremely great for our company,” Bland said. “He’s done an excellent job. It reached a point to where there were other things he would like to do. He wanted to move on and we are very happy for him.”

Bland said Hively’s departure isn’t related to the July hiring of Bruce Peterson, former perishables executive for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., as interim chief executive officer. The management changes that followed split the company’s operations and financial divisions.

Hively was named director of operations at that time. Before that, his titles were chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Bland said he isn’t sure of Hively’s plans, and Hively wasn’t available for comment Nov. 15.

Bland said the company, which grows and markets sweet onions in North America and South America, is changing and operating with more structure. He said Bland Farms managers are handling more operational duties and making more decisions.

On Nov. 16, Hively said it would be premature to comment, but he confirmed his departure was friendly.

Before joining Bland Farms, he managed finance administration for Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., where he worked for 10 years, and managed Del Monte’s Vidalia division in McRae, Ga.

Hively also worked accounting and operations for Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., Palmetto, Fla., for five years and in operations for Palmetto-based Roger Harloff Packing Inc. for five years.