Creation of new comms roles precedes Chiquita's Chapter 11 filing

CINCINNATI: Chiquita Brands International has created its first VP

of corporate communications position, and is also now looking for a

director of corporate communications.



Jeffrey Zalla, corporate responsibility officer, will hold his old

title, as well as that of VP of corporate communications. Zalla reports

directly to Steven Warshaw, Chiquita president and CEO.



The announcement of Zalla's new responsibilities came a few days before

Chiquita filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company aims to

reduce its debt by about $700 million.



Zalla said the two events are not linked, but do complement each

other.



"The creation of the position doesn't have anything to do with the debt

restructuring process we're going through, but I think people have begun

to realize through the process the value of transparent communications,"

Zalla said.



The opening for director of corporate communications requires an

English-Spanish bilingual practitioner. The native language of 80% of

Chiquita employees is Spanish, Zalla explained, and the first priority

of the communications director will be to help the company define a

communications strategy to reach those workers, as well as external

audiences.



The VP of public affairs job - left vacant for close to a year, since

the departure of Joseph Hagin - will not be filled.



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