(UPDATED COVERAGE, 5 P.M., MAY 1) Bob Gray, chief executive officer for Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., Salinas, Calif., is leaving the company June 1.

Bob Gray to step down as CEO of Duda Farm Fresh Foods


According to a news release, Gray plans to remain in an advisory capacity through Aug. 1 as Duda works on consolidating “its diversified business unit leadership teams” in Oviedo, Fla., where parent company, Duda & Sons Inc., is based.

“Bob has been a tremendous asset to us and the fresh industry," said Joseph Duda, president and chief executive officer of Duda. "He set an excellent example, conducting the business of Duda Farm Fresh Foods with integrity and quality, and I don’t see that changing. We have a great management team at Duda Farm Fresh Foods, and I am confident the business will continue to serve its customers and grower partners as they have always done.”

“It’s  been totally amicable and nothing other than good will on both sides,” Gray said.

Gray said his decision to leave the company was for personal reasons and Duda’s leadership and generational changes, with a new focus on bringing more of Duda’s senior management to Florida.

“Duda is blessed with talent in the family and in nonfamily management,” Gray said.

He said he’d like to remain in executive management or do board work after he’s left Duda but doesn’t have definite plans.

Susan Howard, director of corporate communication for Duda, said the company plans to move all of its executive positions to its Florida headquarters. Duda operates in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, and has cattle and real estate divisions, Howard said.

“We want to make sure all the executive team is located in Oviedo,” Howard said.

There are no plans to move sales or other management to Florida as part of the consolidation, she said, and Gray’s successor has not been chosen.

Gray has been with Duda since 1980, when he joined the company as a salesman and assistant to Gene Jackson, who established the company’s West Coast operations, according to the new release.  He ultimately oversaw the entire fresh citrus and vegetable division of the company, serving as CEO of Duda Farm Fresh Foods since 2006.

Dan Duda continues as chief operating officer of Duda Farm Fresh Food, the company said in the release, and any changes to Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ management structure in light of Gray’s departure will be announced in coming months.