Fresh produce company Chiquita Brands International announced today (Friday) that it has appointed Peter F Smit as president, Chiquita Fresh Group - Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

Based in Singapore, he will be responsible for all aspects of the company's operations in the region, reporting to Bob Kistinger, president and chief operating officer of Chiquita Fresh. Smit most recently served as chief of the market development section for the International Trade Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, a United Nations agency specialized in assisting developing countries to improve their export performance.

Prior to his work at the International Trade Centre, Smit served for 25 years at Procter and Gamble in a variety of marketing and operating roles.

"Peter's extensive consumer products and international trade experience has given him the background essential for success," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "I'm confident that Peter's entrepreneurial skills and energetic attitude will help us pursue profitable growth and enter new markets in the region."

Aguirre noted that the company's Asia leadership team will now be based in the region. "In my experience, it's critical to be close to both consumers and customers in the local marketplace," he said. Smit's appointment complements the previously announced hiring of Peter Foyston as general manager of China business development. Foyston, who is based in Guangzhou, has more than 16 years of consumer products experience, including a decade of successful work with Procter and Gamble in China.

"I believe there's a great deal of potential to take advantage of the recent growth Chiquita has enjoyed in this region," Smit said. "I am looking forward to leveraging our brand in Asia and the Middle East as we pursue additional opportunities for profitable growth."