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Paine Schwartz adds former Sunrise exec as operating partner

Ed Haft already serves on the boards of three Paine portfolio companies and was chief executive at Sunrise Growers before the firm sold the frozen fruit processor and marketer to SunOpta for $450m in 2015.

Paine Schwartz Partners has hired former Sunrise Growers president and chief operating officer Edward Haft to serve as operating director.

Haft already serves on the boards of three Paine portfolio companies: Fairfield, Iowa-headquartered food testing and certification company FoodChain ID, fresh fruit grower and packer Wawona Packing, which is headquartered in Cutler, California, and Lyons Magnus, a foodservice provider that maintains offices in California and Kentucky.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Haft joined Sunrise in 2004, after 18 years as president and chief operating officer at Sara Lee, a consumer goods company headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois.

In the new operating director role at Paine, Haft will support existing portfolio companies and help Paine identify and assess investment opportunities, according to a statement.

Paine Schwartz chief executive and founding partner Kevin Schwartz said the firm looked forward to benefiting from Haft’s strategic expertise and operational experience.

“Under our ownership, Ed led Sunrise Growers to significantly expand its domestic operations, successfully launch international operations and extend its market leadership position, all of which facilitated a successful realized investment for Paine Schwartz,” added Schwartz.

Paine acquired Sunrise, a frozen fruit processor and marketer headquartered in Placentia, California, from a parent company affiliated with private equity firm Sun Capital Partners for an undisclosed price in March 2013, using capital from its Fund III, which closed on $1.2 billion in 2007.

Sunrise went on to acquire Placentia-headquartered Gems of Fruit, Opus Foods of Jacona, Mexico and pay $11.1 million for Pacific Ridge Farms of Oxnard, California. At the time, Paine executives  told Agri Investor the acquisitions were designed to solidify a Midwest distribution hub while strengthening its sourcing, processing and shipping capabilities in markets throughout the Midwest, Southeast and East Coast.

In October 2015, Paine sold Sunrise to organic and specialty foods-focused SunOpta, which is headquartered in Brampton, Canada, for $450 million. Haft served as SunOpta’s vice president of healthy fruit before being terminated in August 2017, according to a regulatory filing.

Paine is currently fundraising for the latest iteration of its flagship fund, Paine Schwartz Food Chain Fund IV, which has a target of $1.2 billion and has secured commitments that include $150 million from the $96.2 billion Minnesota State Board of Investment; $50 million from the $8.3 billion Rhode Island Investment Authority and $45 million from the $14.3 billion Maine Public Employees Retirement System.