(Jan. 3) CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Two directors of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. — including Marvin Bush, younger brother of President Bush — have resigned, according to published reports.

Bush and Stephen Way resigned in October, but Fresh Del Monte made no announcements because there were no negative issues related to them, a spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.

The resignations came to light after analysts at BB&T Capital Markets, Winston-Salem, N.C., confirmed them.

Bush is managing director of Winston Partners Group, a private investment firm in Vienna, Va. Way is chairman and chief executive officer of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc., Houston. They have been replaced on Fresh Del Monte’s board by Salvatore Alfiero, chief executive officer of Protective Industries LLC, and Kathryn Falberg, board member of VISX Inc. and former chief financial officer of Amgen Inc.

The resignations came before a December lawsuit filed by minority investors who alleged that the 1996 sale of Fresh Del Monte was rigged and was for far less than the company was worth. Way told Dow Jones Newswire he was unaware of the suit before resigning as a director of Fresh Del Monte and that he did so to attend more fully to his own business.

Neither Bush nor Way were board members when Fresh Del Monte was sold.

In a Dec. 31 statement, Fresh Del Monte reaffirmed it will mount a vigorous defense against what it called a “meritless lawsuit.” The company said allegations contained in the lawsuit have been refuted previously.

“We remain fully confident that the acquisition was done properly and in accordance with all legal requirements,” according to the statement, which noted the acquisition is a matter of public record and has been subject to legal, audit and financial review and approval.

Shares of Fresh Del Monte stock fell about 7% when the Bush and Way resignations were reported Dec. 30. In afternoon trading Jan. 2, shares were $18.39 on volume of nearly 1 million shares traded.

That compares to a 52-week high of $29.70 and low of $13.50, and a 30-day average volume of 656,000 shares traded daily.