(UPDATED COVERAGE, Nov. 3) Robert Verloop, Naturipe Farms LLC’s executive vice president of marketing, has resigned but plans to remain in the produce industry.
The Salinas, Calif.-based grower-shipper of berries announced Verloop’s resignation Oct. 31, which was his last day there.
After returning from Fresh Summit 2016 in Orlando, Fla., the 23rd he has attended, Verloop told Naturipe CEO Dwight Ferguson that this was the right time for him to “step aside.”
Though he hasn’t started his job search, Verloop said he is “wide open” on his next produce industry position.
That could be at a large or small company and he isn’t closing the doors on areas which could match with his skills, Verloop said.
Verloop sees the time off as a sabbatical, allowing him to take a break by engaging in family-related activities and reassess what he wants to accomplish in his next career move.
“Obviously, (my next position) will be in produce, where my heart is,” he said. “I am in a position to where I can step back and take a look at where I would be the most useful and be challenged.”
Verloop started at Naturipe in 2008 after working as vice president of global marketing and licensing for Valencia, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers Inc.
Naturipe leaders praised Verloop’s contributions to the company.
“It’s hard to quantify all the contributions Robert made in his time at Naturipe,” Ferguson said in a news release. “His impact on our marketing and strategy at Naturipe Farms and our subsidiaries has been significant and lasting. He is leaving us well-positioned for continued success and all of us at Naturipe wish him the best in his personal and professional future.”
Before Verloop began his produce industry marketing career as vice president of the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission, he worked 3.5 years in a U.S. Agency for International Development project in Yemen working with extension agents to teach farmers how to grow citrus and tropicals.
He then worked in Brazil on a grape production project.
Verloop was a member of Naturipe Farms’ executive management group and was responsible for the company’s international brand management, marketing functions, corporate communications and new product development.
“It’s a cliché but I do believe I am at a point in my career where I have been fortunate to have worked with and for some very good people and some great organizations that have allowed me to be creative and strategic,” Verloop said. “The thing I’m most proud of is what Naturipe has accomplished while I was there. I was part of teamwork that starts in the fields and goes through the sales and marketing organizations.”
In recent years, Verloop was chief operating officer of the Naturipe Brands LLC subsidiary, where he led development of new business units, according to the release.
Verloop has also been on the boards of the Produce Marketing Association, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and Produce for Better Health and has been a speaker and moderator at produce industry events.