Cranberry co-operative Ocean Spray voted on Saturday for a clean slate - replacing most of its board with a brand new set of faces - in the wake of lagging cranberry prices and a bid from rival Northland Cranberries.
While the results are not final - expected on Tuesday - the preliminary count shows that a 53 per cent majority endorsed resolutions to downsize the 15-member board to 12 and clear the way for the election of a new board.
Ocean Spray interim CEO Barbara Thomas, a current board member who stepped into the CEO slot in November when then CEO Robert Hawthorne resigned, has agreed to remain as interim CEO until either a new interim or permanent CEO is appointed.
Board chairman Benjamin Gilmore commented : "As we finally move toward closure on this long process, our grower-owners can begin putting the Ocean Spray co-operative and its brand squarely on track for a new era of profitability. We will have an opportunity and a responsibility to unite around that common cause."
Northland Cranberries, a far smaller rival to Ocean Spray, proposed but days ago to buy Ocean Spray's juice business and brand name. Ocean Spray dismissed the offer as inadequate, and said it considered it as only an expression of interest.
In addition to 800 cranberry growers, Ocean Spray is owned by some 125 grapefruit growers from the Indian River region of Florida.