(Dec. 15) Sage Fruit Co. LLC, Yakima, Wash., this fall reorganized its leadership structure, naming a new chairman of the board and hiring a chief operating officer and general manager.

Steve Clement, who served as Sage’s business manager since joining the company in June 2005, was named chief operating officer and general manager as of Oct. 1, he said.

Peter Verbrugge, who served for seven years as general manager, was named chairman of the board, said Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing.

Clement has a background in financial management and consulting. He said he worked for about four years on mergers, acquisitions, strategic planning and business consulting for financial services firm Moss Adams LLP in Seattle. Before that, he worked for 10 years for Discover Financial Services LLC.

Clement earned a master’s degree in business administration from Brigham Young University in 2000, he said.

Clement said he does not expect to make any major changes in Sage’s operations.

“I want to see Sage continue to grow apple and cherry tonnage and to continue to stand for the quality and consistent packing that we’ve built our company around,” he said.

Sage is working to streamline its internal processes so it can offer better returns to growers without having to increase charges to retailers, Clement said.

Verbrugge is working on increasing Sage’s apple, cherry and import programs, Clement said. He also is focusing more on the warehouse and growing sides of the company’s operations.