Ocean Spray chief executive resigns

LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass., Nov 6 (Reuters) – Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., a grower-owned cooperative known for its cranberry juice, on Wednesday said Chief Executive Officer Robert Hawthorne resigned after almost three years at the post.

Barbara Thomas, a board member, will act as interim CEO as Ocean Spray searches for a chief executive, it said. Internal and external candidates will be reviewed, Ocean Spray said.

Thomas is a former president of the consumer health-care division of Warner-Lambert, which was bought by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. in 2000. She was named to Ocean Spray’s board in the fall of 2000. Besides Ocean Spray, she also sits on the boards of Dial Corp. and Rayovac Corp. , Ocean Spray said.

Ocean Spray, a cooperative with 804 cranberry growers in the United States and Canada as well as 126 grapefruit growers in Florida, posted fiscal 2002 net sales of $1.07 billion.