Chiquta Brands International has named Rick Frier as its new chief financial officer as the US fruit group looks to turn around its struggling operations.

Frier replaces Brian Kocher, who was prompted to chief operating officer at the US banana group in Decembner.

Frier joins Chiquita from marketing consultants Catalina Marketing Corp., where he served as CFO.

Commenting on the appointment, Chiquita CEO Ed Lonergan highlighted Frier’s background in finance and operations as well as his experience in “turnaround situations”.

In March, Chiquita booked an annual loss of over US$400m after impairment charges and other expenses hit the company’s bottom line. Net sales dropped 1.9% to $3.08bn as banana revenues slid 2% to $2bn after a product supply surcharge in North America.

Lonergan told analysts Chiquita was starting to see the results of restructuring initiatives but would continue to drive costs down in a bid to be more competitive.