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Seattle-based surimi seafood producer Westward Seafoods yesterday announced Rick Dutton was appointed company president, replacing Greg Baker Jan. 1.

Dutton joins Westward after serving as president of Trans-Ocean Products, of Bellingham, Wash., for 11 years. Both companies are subsidiaries of Maruha-Nichiro Holdings.

Dutton is credited with building Trans-Ocean Products from a start up in 1985 to the market share leader in the U.S. retail surimi-seafood business. At Westward, he will be responsible for building the operating performance of the company's factories and expanding global sales by working with other Maruha-Nichiro affiliated companies worldwide. He will remain a member of Trans-Ocean's board of directors.

Yasuaki Kawakita has been named president of Trans-Ocean products, after serving as executive VP since 2005. He will continue building the company's sales in the surimi-seafood category as well as through expansion into new product categories. David Green, VP, earned the additional title of general manager. He will assume a larger role in overall company management while continuing to lead operations at the Bellingham processing facility.

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