Chiquita Brands International has appointed its vice president of corporate development Michael Sims to the position as CFO, effective today (7 August).

Sims, 50, the company's current vice president of corporate development and treasurer, will be responsible for all aspects of the company's financial operations worldwide.

Current CFO Jeffrey Zalla is leaving the company to pursue a "new business venture".

"We are delighted to have someone of Mike's calibre and have been preparing him to succeed Jeff in the role of chief financial officer," said chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre. 

Sims has worked at Chiquita for 21 years, having worked previously in financial reporting, strategic analysis, investor relations, corporate planning, and serving for seven years as CFO of European operations delivering excellent results.

Sims has led Chiquita's corporate development for the past two years, the execution of the company's ship sale in 2007 and the sale of Atlanta last year.

Prior to joining Chiquita, Sims worked for more than seven years with the accounting firm of Ernst & Young in Chicago and is a certified public accountant.

Yesterday, the company hailed its "best quarterly performance" in a decade after underlying profits jumped in the three months to June.