Verdant Partners LLC, Champaign, Ill., hired Paul Bennett as its new director.

Bennett said he has been in produce since 1968, most recently with Sakata Seed America, Morgan Hill, Calif. He retired from Sakata in late 2009. He has also worked for Naturipe Berry Growers, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation and numerous Dole subsidiaries.

“I’ve known their  (Verdant’s) principles for many years during my involvement in the seed industry,” Bennett said.

Bennett said his background will help Verdant expand its interest in fresh produce. According to the company’s website, Verdant Partners does consulting for the crop genetics industry and agribusiness.