Maui Land cuts top slot in its agriculture division
The company is reorganizing its agricultural division and eliminating the position of president and chief executive
Maui Land & Pineapple Co., which earlier this month said it was exploring all options with its pineapple business after the unit lost nearly $9 million in the fourth quarter, announced yesterday it is reorganizing its agricultural division and eliminating the position of president and chief executive.
Brian Nishida, who headed the agricultural division for the past three years, has resigned and plans to return to consulting work, with MLP as one of his clients.
The Kahului-based company said third-generation farmer Wesley Nohara has been named general manager of Kapalua Farms, and Gerry Watts has been selected as general manager of subsidiary Maui Pineapple Co.
"We're still evaluating a number of options at this time in regard to the future of processed pineapple," MLP spokeswoman Teri Freitas Gorman said.
"We're very interested in finding uses for our pineapple co-products -- the juice, fruit and the shell of the pineapple that can be dried and used as cattle feed."
Gorman said the company's fresh pineapple business is "performing as planned," but that eliminating the processed business entirely was one of the options being considered.
Nishida is re-establishing his business consulting enterprise, BG&C International LLC, but will work with MLP as an adviser on acquisitions, new business and special projects.
Watts previously was chief operating officer for Maui Pineapple Co. while Nohara was formerly the vice president of production management for the subsidiary.
In September, MLP said it was laying off 75 employees, or 6 percent of its work force, in connection with a new $17.5 million fresh-fruit packing facility that opened in July.
But plans to build a new micro cannery have been put on hold due to the poor results of the processed pineapple operations, David Cole, chairman, president and CEO of MLP, said earlier this month.
Besides taking $2.1 million in charges, MLP's pineapple results were hurt in the fourth quarter by Del Monte flooding the market with a large volume of pineapple juice following the closure of its Hawaii operations, Freitas Gorman said.