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Hass Avocado Board Promotes Jose Luis Obregon To Managing Director

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, August 23, 2007

JOSE LUIS OBREGON NAMED MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE HASS AVOCADO BOARD

The Board of Directors of the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) approved the promotion of Jose Luis Obregon to the newly created role of managing director at its board meeting on August 15. Obregon most recently served as the first managing director of information technology for the HAB, overseeing the creation its state-of-the-art Network Marketing Center (NMC) and the organization’s intranet site, avoHQ.com.

In his new post, Obregon will take a more central role in the strategic direction, operation and management of the HAB, while continuing to oversee the ongoing development and implementation of the HAB’s information technology and marketing programs. Obregon also will continue to serve as the liaison between the HAB and the avocado industry worldwide.

“We have full confidence in Jose Luis’ ability to balance the duality of managing the current HAB programs, while providing the strategic vision for the organization,” said Charley Wolk, chairman of the HAB. “His leadership capabilities have been key to this industry’s incredible growth; the success of avoHQ.com is a primary example.”

AvoHQ.com is the first of its kind global intranet linking multiple producing countries that market Hass avocados in the U.S., connecting packers, importers, domestic and foreign producers from California, Chile, Dominican Republic, Mexico and New Zealand. Obregon’s leadership has resulted in an increase of nearly triple the number of users on avoHQ.com.

“I am both honored and excited to be named to this position,” said Jose Luis Obregon, managing director of the HAB. “Throughout my tenure with the organization, I have become increasingly familiar with the issues and challenges of the worldwide Hass community. I welcome the opportunity to continue building demand for Hass avocados, while increasing category growth in the U.S.”

A bilingual citizen of Mexico, Obregon also is fluent in the business practices and culture of Chile. This background serves him well, as Mexico and Chile represent the largest importers of Hass avocados into the United States.

He joined the HAB in 2005 after two years as Deputy Director of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, Arizona, a trade association representing Mexican fresh fruit and vegetable imports into the U.S.

Obregon holds an MBA from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He was recognized by Produce Business Magazine in 2005 as one of the “Top Forty Under 40” Produce Executives in the U.S.

The Hass Avocado Board has always been progressive, and we’ve admired what is surely one of the best web sites in the industry, writing a case study in Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS.

And in selecting an up-and-coming executive such as Jose Luis Obregon for its newly created managing director post, it continues in that progressive tradition. It seems like just yesterday that PRODUCE BUSINESS named Jose Luis to our 40-under-Forty for 2005.

Of course, Jose Luis has quite a heritage. In the business his father Francisco “Pancho” Obregón is well known, now consulting under the Novelle Consulting umbrella, Francisco Obregon has worked in government, in industry and been active in association work. You can be sure Pancho is smiling today.

Despite the esteem in which his father is held, Jose Luis actually has more famous relatives. Perhaps the HAB can count on Jose Luis having a few of his great-grandfather’s qualities:

The Mexican Revolution was equally turbulent. Francisco Madero overthrew the old tyrant Porfirio Díaz — only to have his naiveté and trusting nature set him up for a putsch by another tyrant: Victoriano Huerta. Pancho Villa, Venustiano Carranza, Emiliano Zapata and Alvaro Obregón combined to overthrow Huerta — only to be followed by civil strife between Villa-Zapata and Carranza-Obregón.

With the triumph of the latter faction, the field was reduced to two. Carranza was overthrown in 1920 — ten years after the Revolution began — and only Obregón remained. Considering his personal qualities, and those of the other leaders, it seems almost inevitable that Obregón should have triumphed. He was astute where Madero was naive, prudent where Villa was reckless, flexible where Carranza was rigid and, unlike the insular Zapata, he had a vision that embraced all Mexico.

Astute, flexible and with a vision. A great description of Jose Luis Obregon and his great-grandfather, the President of Mexico.

Best of luck to Jose Luis, congratulations to his proud father and kudos to the Hass Avocado Board for making such a fine choice.

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