Posted on September 5, 2006

Monterey Gourmet Foods CEO quits

Eric Eddings takes over immediately

Monterey Gourmet Foods Inc., a manufacturer of natural and organic refrigerated pasta products, said Tuesday its president and chief executive Jim Williams resigned. 

"I am resigning my position as President and CEO of Monterey Gourmet Foods effective today primarily for personal reasons," he said in a statement. "I have committed to the Board of Directors that I will provide support to the organization in order to provide a smooth and seamless transition for the leadership of the company."

Williams, 56, who joined the Salinas, Calif.-based company four years ago with more than 25 years experience in the specialty refrigerated foods business, said in a statement he was leaving for personal reasons.

Eric Eddings, currently senior vice president and president of the company’s natural foods division, replaces Williams, effective Tuesday. "Eric Eddings is a great choice to succeed me. He has done an excellent job in growing our Natural Foods Division and leading the club store development efforts," said Williams.

In 2002, Williams joined Monterey just as the company acquired Emerald Valley Organics. He spearheaded three acquisitions of smaller regional companies whose products had national appeal, CIBO Naturals, Casual Gourmet and Sonoma Cheese Company to broaden penetration of shelf space – in both retail and club stores, to improve revenue mix, and to drive sales by introducing new brands and products into existing Monterey Gourmet Foods’ sales channels, the company said on its web site.

Eddings joined Monterey Gourmet in 2004, when the company bought CIBO Naturals, where Eddings was chief operating officer.

Monterey manufactures fresh refrigerated food products at its facility in Salinas and at its organic food production plant in Eugene, Ore., as well as a newly acquired facility in Seattle, Wash.

Monterey reported sales of $45.6 million for the first six months of 2006, an increase of 17 percent over the same period last year. Shares of the publicly traded company (Nasdaq: PSTA) were up 3.6 percent in late-day trading.

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