Buffalo Rock taps Matthew Dent chief executive

March 10, 2021
New chief succeeds Jimmy Lee III, whose family has owned and managed the Pepsi bottling and vending operation for four generations

Buffalo Rock Co., a Birmingham, AL-based independent Pepsi bottler, has named Matthew Dent, its longtime employee, chief executive. Dent succeeds Jimmy Lee III and is the first chief to lead the company outside the Lee family in 120 years.

Click here to see WVTM13’s video reporting on Dent’s historic appointment.

Dent most recently held the posts of president and chief operating officer at Buffalo Rock, which is also a full-line vending and office coffee operation serving Alabama, western Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.

Employing 2,100 people, Buffalo Rock is the nation's largest private, family-owned company. Lee, a fourth-generation family member, will stay on as executive chairman of the company, which was founded in 1901 by Sidney W. Lee.

Dent got his start with the bottler 25 years ago as a part-time employee at the Tuscaloosa, AL, branch of Buffalo Rock while he was a student at the University of Alabama. After joining the company full time and being involved in numerous roles, Dent would go on to serve as president for 10 years. 

According to its website, Buffalo Rock manufactures and sells almost a billion containers of product annually, serving a population base of more than 6.5 million and some 15,000 retail customers It operates about 80,000 pieces of equipment that includes vending machines, coolers and fountains.

Last November, Buffalo Rock announced the start of a a $75 million expansion in Birmingham. The company said it purchased more than a million square feet of warehouse and office space in the city to create a new central distribution center. Lee said it is the company’s largest infrastructure investment ever undertaken.


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