FREMONT, Mich. (AP) _ Leo D. Goulet, president and chief executive officer of Gerber Products Co., the baby food company, has died at the age of 61 after suffering a heart attack while playing golf.

Goulet, a native of Panama who joined Gerber in 1955, was pronounced dead Sunday at Gerber Memorial Hospital, said company spokesman James Lovejoy.

Goulet was appointed chief executive officer in May and was expected to be named chairman of the Fremont-based baby food company at the annual shareholders meeting on July 22. He would have succeeded William McKinley, who is retiring.

Goulet, president and chief operating officer of the company since February 1983, appeared in television commercials last year with his granddaughter in efforts to allay public fears about Gerber products after several unfounded reports of glass shards in baby food.

Goulet graduated from the University of Denver in 1949. He joined Gerber as an assistant export manager and in 1960 was named president of Gerber International and was based in Panama.

In 1968, he moved to Fremont to direct the company's Latin American operations. He became vice president and general manager of the general merchandise division in 1981 and the next year was named executive vice president and elected to the board of directors.