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Sunkist President, CEO Russ Hanlin announces retirement

Sunkist Growers and Fruit Growers Supply today announced the retirement of Russ Hanlin, president and chief executive officer of the two cooperatives. After more than 41 years of service, Hanlin will retire at the end of the 2019 fiscal year on Oct. 31. The board has selected Jim Phillips, current president of Porterville Citrus, to succeed Hanlin as president and CEO of both Sunkist and FGS.web-Sunkist-Growers-logo

“Russ has made tremendous contributions to Sunkist Growers and the citrus industry overall,” said Gerald Denni, chairman of Sunkist’s board of directors. “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.”

Phillips brings more than 30 years of experience in the agriculture industry to Sunkist Growers. He grew up in a farming family, developing an appetite for the business at a young age. Phillips went on to spend most of his career working with Sunkist-affiliated shippers in various leadership roles. In addition, he has served on the Sunkist and FGS boards — and the California Citrus Mutual board — over the years since the late 1990s.

“Sunkist has been a fundamental cornerstone to the citrus industry for well over a century,” said Phillips. “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.”

Phillips will come on board as CEO-elect on July 1. Hanlin added, “I look forward to working with Jim in the months ahead. I am confident he will take our two cooperatives to great heights in the future.”