(Sept. 3) RICHMOND, Va. — A sluggish performance by Performance Food Group’s fresh-cut division that led to a shake-up at the top apparently now is prompting the head of the division to leave the company.

Tom Lovelace, whom the company replaced with Mark Drever as chief executive officer of Performance’s fresh-cut division, originally had been scheduled to retain his role as chairman of the fresh-cut division. But, on Aug. 30, the company announced that Lovelace will leave the company Nov. 15.

Drever, who joined Fresh Express in 1988, was promoted from president and chief operating officer, which he had been since 1993.

On the day of the announcement, Performance Food shares dropped $1.91 to $22.03 on the Nasdaq stock ex-change. The stock dropped further the next day, closing at $22 Aug. 31, approaching its 52-week low of $21.60. Shares had been as high as $35.29 in mid-May and had been $33-35 until beginning their slide in mid-June.

Lovelace has been with Performance since 1995.

Telephone calls to Performance for comment were not returned.

“Obviously, they have issues they’ve got to fix at Fresh Express,” said Eric Larson, senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray Cos., Minneapolis. “It’s an important division, and they can use some different leadership.”

From a companywide perspective, the situation isn’t all that grim, however, Larson said.

“The company is doing extremely well from the broadline and the customized set of the business,” he said. “It’s just that things are not so well on fresh-cut side. They’ve run into issues with growth, how to manage it, how to get supplies. There are a number of issues.”

The seasonal nature of the business is one of the concerns, Larson said.

“They have to figure out how to source produce and reduce the volatility of their earnings,” he said. “There have been changes in cost structure, because, after all, it’s very commodity-oriented.”