(April 2) RALEIGH, N.C. — Major change is sweeping through the management of fruit and vegetable grower, shipper and marketer L&M Cos. Inc., as the company’s president and chief executive officer scales back his involvement, the company announced April 1.

Joe McGee, 68, who founded the company in 1964, will step down as president but retain his title as chief executive officer to focus on fewer day-to-day responsibilities at the Raleigh-based company.

The company says that McGee will concentrate on strategic planning for overall performance of L&M and its warehouse/packing, growing and transportation businesses.

Paul Hudson will move from his current position as vice president of sales to president.

Newcomer Steve Finberg, 35, former vice president and chief operating officer of Dallas-based DiMare Fresh Inc., took up his new duties as vice president of sales with L&M March 22.

Before DiMare Fresh, Finberg had spent all 14 years of his produce-industry career with Arlington, Texas-based Fresh America Corp., which encountered financial problems and subsequently liquidated its assets.

Florida-based tomato grower, shipper and repacker DiMare Homestead Inc. bought up many of those assets and started DiMare Fresh Inc.

Paul DiMare, president of DiMare Homestead and DiMare Fresh, said Eric Janke, DiMare Fresh’s vice president of services, has been promoted to vice president and chief operating officer of that company.

DiMare said he has no plans to fill Janke’s vacated role.

Finberg said that it was time for a change.

“It was a little bit different part of the industry,” he said. “It was a new experience. I was very proud of the accomplishments within DiMare Fresh, but I thought this was something new in my career and that L&M was positioning themselves in the industry.”

Finberg said he is responsible for L&M’s entire portfolio of products and services, which include supplying a full line of fruits and vegetables under the Nature’s Delight label.

Another change at L&M involves Larry Otto, who moves from vice president of corporate accounts and marketing to vice president of marketing and business development.

Mike McGee, who had been the firm’s vice president of information technology became vice president of operations and grower development.

All of the changes should be completed by Sept. 1, the company estimates.