(Jan. 26) Bob Castellini’s resume boasts more than 40 years of leadership at Wilder, Ky.-based Castellini Co., a produce distribution company.

But such a specialized work history did not prevent 64-year-old Castellini from assuming the office of chief executive officer for the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in baseball.

On Jan. 19, Major League Baseball approved the Castellini chairman’s purchase of 70% of the $270 million baseball franchise. Castellini succeeds Carl Lindner, former owner of Chiquita Brands International Inc., Cincinnati.

Serving as Castellini’s partners in the ownership group are Joe Williams, chairman, and Tom Williams, vice chairman and treasurer. Before owning the Reds, Castellini and the Williams brothers held minority ownership of the St. Louis Cardinals.

“You probably want to know — who are these people? Why did they put together the group that’s buying ‘Our Reds,’ and what do they plan to do?” Castellini said in a press conference Jan. 19. “It's really pretty simple. I’m here today because I’m a lifelong Reds fan. I love baseball.”

Castellini’s penchant for sports does not stop at baseball. Castellini’s firm sponsors NASCAR, and select fruits and vegetables feature packaging with the black-and-white checkered NASCAR label.

As for joint marketing efforts between Castellini and the Cincinnati Reds, no formal discussions have taken place, said Joe Bride, spokesman for the Cincinnati-based Castellini Management Company. But Bride said such marketing cooperatives may reach fruition.