Plant City-based Paradise Inc. said that after 53 years of service at the maker of candied fruit, Melvin S. Gordon has taken a "permanent leave of absence" due to health reasons from his position as chief executive officer. He will remain chairman of the board. Paradise president Randy Gordon, Melvin's son and an employee since 1978, will take on the CEO responsibilities. Details of the executive transition were made by Paradise in an SEC filing. The company was started after World War II, with current ownership taking over in 1961. Melvin Gordon holds more than a third of the company's common stock. Paradise employs between 140 and 275 people, depending upon the season.