(March 16, 4:45 p.m) Robert Verloop’s role at Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC is expanding to include development of long-term sales and marketing strategies.

Verloop, hired as vice president of marketing at the berry marketer in early 2008, is now senior vice president of sales and marketing, effective March 16.

He will continue to oversee Naturipe Farms’ marketing programs, sales promotions, consumer research, advertising and public relations, according to a news release.

In Verloop’s newly created position, he will work closely with Brian Bocock, vice president of sales, to expand sales and increase distribution and penetration of the Naturipe Farms’ products, the release said.

Verloop’s promotion is the second major change at Naturipe Farms this year. Bruce Peterson resigned as president and chief executive officer in January. Rich Amirsehhi, Naturipe Farms’ board chairman, who also is president and chief executive officer of Naturipe Berry Growers, Salinas, Calif., was named interim chief executive officer following Peterson’s departure

Verloop, a 25-year veteran of the fresh produce industry, joined Naturipe Farms in January 2008 after more than seven years as vice president of global marketing and licensing with Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif. Previously, he worked for the California Avocado Commission, Irvine, Calif.

Verloop expands duties at Naturipe Farms