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Chiquita’s outgoing CEO still plans to live in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — Fernando Aguirre is abandoning Chiquita — but not Charlotte.

Although Chiquita announced this month that Aguirre is stepping down as the company’s chief executive, Aguirre told the Rotary Club of Charlotte on Tuesday that he’s not abandoning plans to live in the Queen City.

Aguirre said he and his wife have sold their home in Cincinnati, where Chiquita was headquartered until it announced last year that it was relocating to Charlotte, and are building a home here.

“This is our home,” he told the room of Rotarians, who meet every Tuesday at lunchtime. Dessert at this meeting: banana pudding.

In an interview after the meeting, Aguirre told The Mecklenburg Times that his home is being built near Myers Park, but he declined to be more specific about the location.

“My wife would kill me,” he said.

When asked why he’s decided to stay in Charlotte, even though he’s resigning from Chiquita, Aguirre praised Charlotte, calling it a “great community.”

How long will he live here?

“Hopefully forever,” he said.

On Aug. 7, Chiquita announced that it was searching for a new CEO and launching a cost-cutting plan. That news, which shocked Charlotte, was released on the same day the company said its second-quarter profit fell to $6 million from  $78 million in the year-ago quarter.

Aguirre said Chiquita’s board is searching for his successor and that he plans to “stay engaged” with the company for about a year. He said he doesn’t know what his next career move will be, but he’s interested in teaching and writing a book on leadership.

Aguirre, a native of Mexico, has been CEO of Chiquita for about nine years. He told the Rotarians that he became a U.S. citizen roughly two years ago.

Deon Roberts can be reached at deon.roberts@mecktimes.com.

 

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