Business

Royal Hawaiian Orchards Names New Interim President

June 12, 2013, 5:52 PM HST
* Updated June 13, 1:46 PM
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The Big Island’s largest macadamia nut processor has a new interim president.

Hilo resident John Kai has taken over that role for Royal Hawaiian Resources Inc. and its general partner, Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP, according to a statement released Tuesday by the company.

Dennis Simonis. Photo courtesy of Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP.

Dennis Simonis. Photo courtesy of Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP.

Kai replaces Royal Hawaiian Orchards President, Chief Executive Officer and Director Dennis Simonis who was terminated last week. Simonis had been with the Hilo-based macadamia nut company since December 2004.

Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP filed paperwork with the Securities Exchanges Commission on June 5, stating that Simonis’ employment was being terminated that day. Kai was named interim president on the same day in a separate filing.

No reason for the termination was provided in the filing and telephone calls to Royal Hawaiian Orchards staff were not returned.

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Kai, 47, is familiar with the company, having served as a director of Royal Hawaiian Orchards since June 2004.

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According to the SEC filing, Kai’s previous employment includes serving as president of Pinnacle Media Group LLC since 2002, president of Pinnacle Investment Group LLC since 1999, as well as positions at Paine Webber, Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities.

One of the leading growers and processors of macadamia nuts in the world, Royal Hawaiian Orchards owns or leases 5,070 acres of macadamia nut trees on the Big Island and performs farming services for other orchard owners on an additional 1,100 acres.

In addition to processing and marketing macadamia nuts in-shell and in bulk, it offers a variety of snack products marketed under the Royal Hawaiian Orchards brand name.

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Founded in 1986, the company changed its name last October from ML Macadamia Orchards LP to Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP. The name change came about as the company launched a new retail product line.

According to a report in the Pacific Business News, as a result of Simonis’ departure, the macadamia nut processor will focus on its relationships with other farmers and growers around Hawaii. It is also looking into reviving the Hawaii Macadamia Nut Association.

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