Ocean Spray's new 12-member board met for the first time in Chicago on Friday, to organise, meet with management and address other business matters, the cooperative said in a statement.

The board has been conferring closely with Ocean Spray management, as well as with members of the prior board, to ensure continuity and stability during the transition, it said.

"The board was briefed on the details of the aggressive Internal Improvement Program recently initiated by management and the prior board. By formal vote this was reaffirmed as the Coop's first priority," said newly elected board chairman Robert L. Rosbe, Jr. "The next priority will be expanding communication with growers and their involvement in cooperative affairs. Finally, the board will be setting up an ongoing process, working with management and growers, to monitor and study all strategic options for strengthening the Coop and its brand. This will be a continual, long-term program. We will not rush to any conclusions."

Ocean Spray's new Board of Directors was elected by a majority of shares voted at the cooperative's annual meeting in Chicago on March 8. The vote was officially certified on Tuesday, March 11.

The Ocean Spray cooperative is made up of growers large and small from all cranberry-producing regions: Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and other Canadian provinces, as well as grapefruit growers from the Indian River region of Florida.