Del Monte Foods has named Neil Harrison interim CEO as its US$5bn sale to a private-equity consortium nears completion.

Harrison is a senior advisor at Vestar Capital, one of the private-equity firms involved in the purchase.

Del Monte said yesterday (10 February) that Harrison will join the group’s board of directors as it continues to search for a permanent CEO.

The company announced in late January that current CEO Rick Wolford would stay on until the buy-out, led by KKR, is completed.

Harrison was previously CEO and chairman of Birds Eye Foods, as well as president and CEO of Heinz‘s North American division. He has also held senior positions at Weight Watchers Gourmet Food Co. and Miller Brewing Co.

Current CFO Dave Meyers is also set to leave Del Monte, with current executive vice president of finance Larry Bodner becoming the CFO of the new Del Monte Corp. on completion of the merger.

The deal is set to close shortly after a stockholder vote on 15 February.