Flowers Foods Inc. announced two transitions to the senior leadership of the company and the election of two new members to the board of directors. The changes are effective September 1, 2023.
Heeth Varnedoe, chief operating officer at Flowers, will begin serving as president and chief operating officer of the company. 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. Thomas holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
“Congratulations to Heeth on his well-deserved promotion," McMullian said in the announcement. "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," McMullian continued. "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:
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. While at Delta, she has also held product development and marketing roles. Smith holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University. 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," McMullian added in the announcement. "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."