(Sept. 8) Like a football team trying to position its key players on the field, A. Duda & Sons Inc. has filled its roster with company veterans to run its recently created fresh and processed subsidiaries.

The Oviedo, Fla.-based company on Sept. 1 promoted Robert Gray, who has worked for Duda for 25 years, from president to the new position of chief executive officer of Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., Duda’s core division.

Dan Duda Jr. was elevated from division senior vice president of fresh sales to chief operating officer, also a new position. Duda, who has been with the fifth-generation family-run company for 26 years, had served as Duda’s corporate vice president of fresh sales, his position since 1997.

Walter “Drew” Duda, the vice president formerly in charge of Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ Florida fresh vegetable and sugarcane operations, moved to chief operating officer for Duda Products Inc., the company’s processing subsidiary.

Rick Hanas, a 34-year Duda production and marketing operation veteran, became the processed division’s chief executive officer.

Duda & Sons in January reconfigured its operations by consolidating all of its fresh operations into Duda Farm Fresh Foods and separated its processed businesses into another division.

The organizational management structural changes, Gray said, will make the subsidiaries more segment-specific.

“This is one step in the process of getting our people wearing the same jerseys on the playing field,” Gray said. “Our plan is that this will give us a focused business unit approach. We’re going to be a better and more responsive company as we keep evolving our corporate and organizational structure.”

Gray and Dan Duda will retain their corporate officer responsibilities to provide counsel and expertise to the parent company, said Susan Howard, Duda’s corporate communications director.

Gray, who will remain based out of Duda’s Salinas, Calif., location, serves as Duda & Sons’ executive vice president while Dan Duda, who will work out of Duda’s Orlando, Fla., area headquarters, is the corporation’s vice president.

“I have spent my whole life preparing for this position,” Dan Duda said.

He credited Gray’s leadership in changing the company’s outlook and corporate culture.

“It’s a complicated and more disciplined business we have to go to market with,” Dan Duda said. “There are a lot of variables, but Duda continues to reach out to new markets and new sources, not just in the U.S.”

To enhance its market perspective, Dan Duda said the company is taking on more of a global approach. He pointed to its increasing international presence, which includes operations in Mexico, Chile, Peru and Spain.

Duda takes steps to push global marketing
Dan Duda Jr. (left) has become chief operating officer of Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc. Robert Gray has become chief executive officer.