Robert Benton has been promoted to senior vice-president and chief manufacturing officer.

THOMASVILLE, GA. — Robert L. Benton, currently senior vice-president of manufacturing and operations support at Flowers Foods, Inc., has been promoted to senior vice-president and chief manufacturing officer at the company, effective immediately.

In assuming the top manufacturing position at Flowers, Mr. Benton succeeds Michael A. Beaty, who will retire from the company this spring. Mr. Beaty, who was executive vice-president of supply chain, until he steps down will serve as executive vice-president and will oversee special projects for the company. His tenure at Flowers dates back nearly half a century.

In his elevated role, Mr. Benton will oversee all production facilities and associated capital expenditures, leading the company’s manufacturing and engineering teams. He will have responsibility for all major capital projects, including new baking plant start-ups and expansions, which the company described as “an area of focus.” He also will oversee regulatory/quality assurance and safety/environmental affairs.

With Flowers since 1980, Mr. Benton has held local, regional, and corporate manufacturing roles for the company. He was promoted in 2011 to senior vice-president of manufacturing and operations support. He also has served in leadership roles with a number of industry groups, including the American Institute of Baking, Baking Equipment Manufacturers and Allied, and the American Society of Baking, where he was chairman from 2008-09.

Mr. Beaty joined Flowers in 1968 and worked in manufacturing at a number of baking plants before joining the manufacturing team at corporate headquarters in Thomasville. He was named senior vice-president of bakery operations in 1994, senior vice-president of supply chain in 2002, and executive vice-president of supply chain in 2008.

“During his 47-year career with Flowers Foods, Mike has been instrumental in creating a network of bakeries that — while maintaining high standards of baking and quality — are some of the most efficient in the country,” said Allen L. Shiver, president and chief executive officer at Flowers. “Now, he passes the baton to Robert, who has more than 30 years of experience in bakery manufacturing and construction.”