US supermarket retailer and grocery wholesaler Fresh Brands has announced that its chief executive officer, Elwood F. Winn, is to leave the company as part of a mutual agreement.

Winn had served as Fresh Brands' chief executive officer since December 2000 and as acting chief financial officer since September 2003. He has been with the company since September 1999.

Fresh Brands said it has initiated a national search for a new chief executive officer, but in the meantime Walter G. Winding, Fresh Brands' independent chairman of the board, and Michael R. Houser, the company's vice chairman of the board, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, will assume the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the chief executive officer.

"We also plan to accelerate our ongoing active search for a chief financial officer, while aggressively looking for a new CEO," said Winding.

The company announced in September that its chief financial officer Pat Plumley had left the company. Wisconsin-based Fresh Brands said the decision was not related to any accounting or financial issues.

Fresh Brands also announced that its vice president of retail operations, John C Rocker, is to leave after less than a year with the company.