The chief executive of Dole Food Co. Inc. is leaving the Westlake Village produce company, prompting 89-year-old Chairman David Murdock to return as chief executive in a dual role.

Dole President and Chief Executive David A. DeLorenzo resigned to run Itochu Corp., a Japanese company that acquired Dole’s worldwide packaged foods and its Asia produce business for $1.69 billion this year.

DeLorenzo will not depart until the deal closes, which is expected by the end of the year. Dole shareholders approved the deal on Thursday.

Dole Chief Financial Officer Joseph Tesoriero also is leaving the company, as is Sue Hagen, head of human resources. Tesoriero will be succeeded by Keith Mitchell, the chief financial officer of Dole's North American fresh-fruit business.

It’s unclear how long Murdock will run the company, or when the company may start a search for a replacement. Murdock last held the chief executive position in June 2007. General Counsel Michael Carter also will assume the dual role of president.

Dole reached its deal with Itochu in September, but kept its North American fresh-vegetables business and its fresh-fruit businesses in North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Dole expects more profitability but reduced annual of roughly $4.2 billion after the sale. The company grossed $7.2 billion last year.

Shares lost 2 cents to close at $11.51 on the New York Stock Exchange prior to the announcement.