Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fernando Is the Man, Yo

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/30/2011 No comments
If you live in Charlotte or the surrounding area, you likely heard the big news yesterday that Chiquita is relocating its headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte. The multibillion-dollar company that's most known for bananas will bring 400 jobs to the city next year, with its corporate office being housed in NASCAR Plaza in Uptown. The news of Chiquita's relocation was the talk of last evening's Charlotte Chamber Annual Meeting, and was the focal point of about a third of the formal program.

Chiquita CEO Fernando Aguirre took the stage and talked about why his company chose Charlotte over remaining in Cincinnati or moving to one of the other cities that were courting them--the two biggest reasons were the financial incentives package the city and state put together and the appeal of the high number of daily, direct, and international flights that operate out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Based on the 15 minutes or so that Fernando spoke, I believe he's going to do well in Charlotte and add to the city's long lineage of savvy, forward-thinking, civic-engaged corporate executives (think Hugh McColl, Leon Levine, Jerry Richardson). I like the guy.

Fernando Aguirre appeared on CBS's Undercover Boss last year.

My first impressions of Fernando is that he's sharp, witty, and an avid tweeter (@FdoAguirreCEO). And he was thoughtful enough to don a yellow bow tie he says was sent to him by Charlotte-based High Cotton Ties in what was one of the many ways people in the city came together to help lure them here (#bananas4CLT / #bananasforCLT). But out of all the things he stated at the event, to me, one of the most important announcements was that Chiquita will be donating 15 salad bars to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools so students will have more access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The salad bars will be donated through the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools program.

Fernando is the man, yo.


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