Sunkist CEO Russ Hanlin plans to retire

Sunkist CEO Russ Hanlin plans to retire

Russ Hanlin, who has been with Sunkist Growers Inc. since 1978, plans to retire as president and CEO Oct. 31, and Jim Phillips, president of Porterville Citrus, will succeed him.

Hanlin’s first position with the cooperative was as a buyer at Fruit Growers Supply Co., Sunkist’s manufacturing and supply division. He is also president and CEO of Fruit Growers Supply.

Hanlin had several positions in the Sunkist marketing department before being named manager of domestic sales in 1994, and director of international sales in 1997. He succeeded Tim Lindgren as president and CEO in November 2008.

“Russ has made tremendous contributions to Sunkist Growers and the citrus industry overall,” Gerald Denni, chairman of Sunkist’s board of directors, said in a news release. “We will certainly miss Russ’ leadership.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Russ for his dedication to our growers, shippers, employees, and customers, and to welcome Jim to the executive leadership team at Sunkist Growers,” Denni said in the release.

Phillips takes on the CEO-elect role on July 1.

He has more than 30 years of experience in agriculture, growing up in a farming family, and working with Sunkist-affiliated companies for most of his career. He has served on Sunkist and Fruit Growers Supply boards, as well as the California Citrus Mutual board.

“Sunkist has been a fundamental cornerstone to the citrus industry for well over a century,” Phillips said in the release. “It’s my passion to grow and deliver exceptional quality fruit while getting the highest returns for our California and Arizona citrus growers. Sunkist has a talented group of people, and I’m excited to work alongside them to carry the iconic brand into the future.”