(Nov. 28) In an effort to form more personal relationships with buyers and place less emphasis on sales territories, Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc., a division of Salinas, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. Inc., has created four divisions — east, central, west and new business.

The changes, announced Nov. 18, took effect two months ago, said Eric Schwartz, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables. The company hired eight salesmen.

Dole’s lawsuit July 26 that accused Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Produce Inc. of competing unfairly by hiring three former Dole managers is not related to the changes, Schwartz said.

The promotion of Tim Stejskal, former West Coast director of sales, to vice president of value-added sales in late March, was directly related to the loss of Dole’s managers, Schwartz said. Employees from the four new divisions will report to Stejskal.

The promotion of Kathy Williams, former sales manager for Dole Fresh Flowers Inc., to national account manager of Dole’s Wal-Mart account also was related, he said.

The additional personnel changes at Dole Fresh Vegetables are:

  • Johan Andersson, former south central regional manager, is now national accounts manager for the western division.

  • Daryl Johnston, formerly director of national accounts for Dole Fresh Vegetables, is the director of new business development.

  • Timothy LaBeau, former field sales vice president of the east division of Maybelline-Garnier, is director of sales in the eastern region.

  • Greg Taylor, who has worked for Dole Fresh Vegetables for six years, serves as central division director. He previously worked as eastern division director.

  • Chris Boyd is the director of sales for the western region. Boyd previously worked for Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods Inc. as a regional director of sales and marketing.

  • Steven Ware, former central region sales manager, will serve as national accounts manager, central sales. Ware joined Dole Fresh Vegetables in 1995.

  • James Brichetto takes over Ware’s previous position of central region sales manager. He was formerly director of perishable sales for the Iowa division of Plano, Texas-based Crossmark.

  • James Straub is the south central regional sales manager. A former retail merchandising consultant for Nogales, Ariz.-based Vanguard Marketing Strategies LLC, Straub has more than 20 years of experience at retail.

  • Todd Gosule will be the new regional sales manager for the eastern region. Gosule formerly worked for Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Orlando, Fla.-based Chep USA.

  • Daniel Austin will be the regional sales manager for the mid-Atlantic region. Austin most recently served as national accounts manager for Elmer’s Products Inc. in Rogers, Ark.

A Monterey, Calif., Superior Court judge dismissed the suit, which claimed Ready Pac had unfairly hired Allan Sabatier, now vice president of value-added sales; Brian Rogers, sales manager; and David Williams, sales manager.