Chiquita Brands International has decided to overhaul the way it runs its business in a bid to cut costs and boost efficiency.

The US-based fresh food group said today (29 October) that it would cut 160 management jobs and reduce costs by up to US$80m a year.

Chiquita has also decided to operate on a regional basis, with its management team running the business by geography rather than by product line.

"Since 2005, market dynamics and the competitive landscape have been rapidly changing, which has limited our profitability and slowed the execution of our strategy," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and CEO.

Aguirre pointed to rising industry costs, "punitive" EU import laws, and a slow recovery of the value-added salads business as factors behind the revamp of the business.

He added: "We began a major analysis in the summer when we realized the effects of these negative forces were impacting our profit plans longer than originally anticipated. We are taking several significant broad-based actions across the business, which are designed to improve our performance in areas we can more directly influence and control."

Chiquita executives staying at the company include Brian Kocher, who will head up the company's North American business.

Michel Loeb will be responsible for Chiquita's business in Europe and the Middle East, while Tanios Viviani will become president, global innovation and emerging markets, as well as chief marketing officer.