(March 4, 2:11 p.m.) Eric Schwartz, 49, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc., Monterey, Calif., has resigned from the company but will remain for another four weeks, he said.

Ray De Riggi, who was chief operating officer with ConAgra’s specialty meats division before leaving to found Orange County Business Bank in 2005, will serve as Schwartz’s successor, Schwartz said March 4.

Schwartz will leave Dole the end of March, and De Riggi will take over his position as division president March 17.

“This has been in the works for a while,” Schwartz said. “I can’t disclose anything until April, because I’m still a full-time employee. They’ve asked me to stay on another four weeks.”

He said he has “two irons in the fire” and one possibility is within the produce industry.

“At my age, I figure I’m too young to retire, but if I’m going to do something else, now is the time,” Schwartz said.

WEB EDITOR'S NOTE ON CORRECTIONS: Because of incorrect information provided to The Packer, the above article, when posted March 4, misspelled the name of the new president of Dole Fresh Vegetables. Ray De Riggi will join Dole in that role on March 17, succeeding Eric Schwartz. The article also mentioned De Riggi comes to Dole from ConAgra Foods Inc. De Riggi worked at ConAgra for 10 years in various management roles, but he left ConAgra in 2005 to found Orange County Business Bank, according to a March 6 press release from Dole. These errors have since been corrected.

Dole Fresh Vegetables president to step down
Eric Schwartz