The upcoming changes at the helm of the leading U.S. baking companies would be highly noteworthy under any circumstances, but the importance is greatly magnified both by contemporaneous timing of the transitions and by the extraordinary, truly unprecedented change under way in wholesale baking at the present time. Over the course of only a few days, Flowers Foods, Inc. announced that Allen L. Shiver would succeed George E. Deese as chief executive officer, and Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. said Fred Penny would follow Gary Prince atop Bimbo Bakeries USA.
Both Flowers Foods and B.B.U. are in the midst of colossal integrations, and Flowers appears poised to double down with another major acquisition – most of the bread business of Hostess Brands, Inc., subject to various approvals. Grupo Bimbo remains hard at work in establishing B.B.U. as the kind of stable and successful business envisaged by the company when it made its major acquisitions to create the largest baking company in the United States.
In the case of both Bimbo and Flowers, any anxiety over the pending changes is greatly eased by the experience of the individuals who have been named to lead their companies. Both Mr. Shiver and Mr. Penny enjoy strong reputations within their companies and across the baking industry. Their combined 68 years of experience in baking offer cause for confidence in their companies and the industry’s future.