(May 5) Mann Packing Co. Inc., Salinas, Calif., has selected a new president and chief executive officer.

Mike Jarrard, 40, was promoted to the post May 3. He previously served as Mann’s vice president of business development.

Jarrard takes over about 10 months after the unexpected death of Joe Nucci on July 7.

A 16-year veteran of the produce industry, Jarrard has made several innovative contributions to Mann since he joined the company 12 years ago.

“He’s a real architect of how Mann Packing is structured today,” said Lorri Koster, spokeswoman for the company.

After working for Salinas-based Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. for five years, he joined Mann Packing in 1994 as product manager for fresh-cut. In that post, he created a new financial reporting structure, a fresh-cut budgeting system and a cost accounting system for plant operations.

In 1997, Jarrard was promoted to director of fresh-cut products. Three years later, he became the company’s director of new business development.

In that responsibility, he directed product expansions and managed Mann’s co-packing operations with Verdelli Farms, Harrisburg, Pa., which packs for Mann in the Northeast.

He also served as general manager for Fresh Leaf Farms LLC, whose whole-leaf products Mann sells and markets.

Jarrard was named vice president of business development in 2002, when he helped in the company’s acquisition of sugar snap pea grower Garden Valley Inc., Boise, Idaho.

His direction of the snap pea category helped make it the No. 1 selling stock-keeping unit in the fresh-cut vegetable category, Koster said.

His familiarity with the company and culture made Jarrard a clear choice for the post, Koster said.

Jarrard said he doesn’t plan to make changes as leader of the company.

“We’re going to stay the course,” he said. “We’ve got a good team in place. What we’re doing is what we’re going to keep doing, but we’re going to do it better.”

Jarrard takes helm at Mann Packing