Flowers Foods Announces Leadership Changes

The baked goods producer also named two new members to its board of directors.

2 Min Read
Flowers Foods new appointments
Flowers Foods new appointments, L to R: Heeth Varnedoe, current COO and now president; Terry S. Thompson, former board member and now chief growth officer; and Brigitte King with Colgate-Palmolive and Joanne Smith with Delta Air Lines as new board members.Images courtesy of Flowers Foods

 Flowers Foods has announced two transitions to the senior leadership of the company and two new members to the board of directors.

The following changes are effective September 1, 2023:

Heeth Varnedoe, current chief operating officer at Flowers, will begin serving as president and chief operating officer. Varnedoe has held a number of key management roles at Flowers, including chief transformation officer, senior vice president of DSD Regions/Sales, and president of the Phoenix bakery.

Terry S. Thomas, currently a member of the board of directors of Flowers Foods, will resign as a member of the board and join the company as chief growth officer, reporting to Ryals McMullian, chairman, chief executive officer, and president.

A new position at Flowers, the chief growth officer is responsible for leading and managing growth initiatives, product development and innovation, marketing, and customer partnerships. Thomas has extensive experience working globally in the consumer goods industry, most recently as global chief customer officer at Unilever. Previously, he has held executive and management positions at PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Clorox, and Procter & Gamble. 

"Congratulations to Heeth on his well-deserved promotion," commented McMullian. "Over the last few years, Heeth has overseen a number of transformative initiatives at Flowers and has proven himself to be an extremely capable senior executive. Going forward, Heeth will be taking on a number of additional responsibilities and I am supremely confident that he will continue to make significant contributions to our success.

"I'm looking forward to working directly with Terry to uncover new revenue streams for the company, one of the key responsibilities of his role," added McMullian. "Terry's global experience working at a senior level for some of the most respected CPG companies in the world will be invaluable to us as we continue to transform Flowers into a consumer and brand-centric company."

The Flowers Foods board of directors has elected two new independent directors, effective October 1, 2023:

Brigitte King is the global chief digital officer at Colgate-Palmolive Co., overseeing digital commerce, digital marketing, and omnichannel brand strategies. King has extensive digital and consumer marketing experience, and held senior roles at PVH Corp. and at L'Oréal, serving as their chief consumer officer, prior to joining Colgate. 

Joanne Smith is executive vice president and chief people officer at Delta Air Lines, where she oversees talent management and development, recruitment, HR service delivery, diversity and inclusion, and HR policies and programs. She also held product development and marketing roles at Delta. She will serve on the audit committee and finance committee of the board.

"On behalf of the entire board of directors, I'd like to welcome Brigitte and Joanne as the newest Flowers board members," said McMullian. "The expertise and perspective they bring will add significant support for two of our four strategic priorities: focusing on our brands and developing our team. Their guidance will be a great benefit to the board — and the more than 9,000 Flowers employees — as we work to become a more agile and innovative company."

About the Author(s)

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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