AUSTRALIA – Costa Group, the prominent Australian fresh produce company recently acquired by an investor consortium, has officially named Marc Werner as its Chief Executive Officer, succeeding interim CEO Harry Debney.

This move comes as the culmination of a significant acquisition process by a consortium led by private-equity firm Paine Schwartz Partners, along with collaborators Driscoll’s and Canada’s British Columbia Investment Management Corp.

After a tenure of just over two years as Chief Operating Officer, Werner assumed the role of Deputy CEO in July last year.

The leadership transition marks the departure of Harry Debney, who served as interim CEO and was integral during the acquisition negotiations.

In a statement, Marc Werner emphasized his commitment to steering Costa Group towards continued success and growth. “Over the past 18 months, I have really focused on developing a detailed understanding of the fresh produce industry, to ensure I can effectively lead the business and optimize its success,” he stated.

Werner outlined his strategic vision for the company, emphasizing the importance of innovation and investment to build a competitive edge and enhance product offerings.

Highlighting the significance of the workforce, Werner underscored, “Costa’s people are our greatest asset, and I intend to not only identify and promote their capabilities and key talents but to continue to position Costa as the employer of choice in the fresh produce industry.”

Outgoing interim CEO Harry Debney expressed confidence in Werner’s ability to lead the company forward. “The company looks forward to Marc’s leadership in further growing the business and achieving continued success. I wish him the very best for the future.”

The acquisition journey began last year when Costa Group revealed negotiations with private-equity firm Paine Schwartz Partners, a shareholder that had submitted a preliminary offer in May.

The consortium, led by Paine Schwartz Partners, ultimately secured the deal after a lowered bid in September, officially closing earlier this week.

This change in leadership aligns with Costa Group’s strategic positioning under the new ownership.

 The collaboration with Driscoll’s and Canada’s British Columbia Investment Management Corp. signifies a diversified approach to business, leveraging the collective strengths of key players in the industry.

As the fresh produce sector evolves, Marc Werner’s leadership will play a pivotal role in navigating Costa Group through innovative strategies, reinforcing its competitive standing, and fostering a work culture that attracts top talent.

The collective expertise brought by the consortium indicates a strong foundation for Costa Group’s continued growth in the dynamic fresh produce market.

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