THOMASVILLE, GA. — The board of directors of Flowers Foods, Inc. has elected A. Ryals McMullian Jr. as a director, effective immediately. Mr. McMullian was promoted to president and chief executive officer of the company in May.

The appointment of Mr. McMullian brings Flowers’ total board members to nine.

“We are pleased to welcome Ryals to the board,” said George E. Deese, non-executive chairman of the board. “He’s been leading efforts across the company to grow in new areas, optimize processes and strengthen our competitive position, and brings solid legal and M.&A. experience to the board. We look forward to his contributions.”

Benjamin H. Griswold, IV presiding director of Flowers’ board, added, “Ryals is committed to delivering results and enhancing shareholder value for Flowers Foods. We know his insights and contributions will add tremendous value to the board during the company’s evolution to a national branded food company.”

Mr. McMullian joined Flowers Foods in 2003 as associate general counsel. He later was promoted to vice-president of mergers and acquisitions and chief strategy officer. He was chief operating officer from July 2018 to May 2019, with responsibility for executing the company’s strategies to drive growth and expand margins through cost savings and operating efficiencies under Project Centennial. He also oversaw the company’s two business units (Fresh Packaged Bread and Snacking/Specialty), supply chain and sales. In addition, he maintained oversight of corporate strategy and ventures and communications. Prior to joining Flowers Foods, he was a corporate associate in the Business Practice Group at Jones Day.

He received a bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate, a master’s degree in business administration and a juris doctorate, all from Florida State University.

Mr. McMullian’s father, Amos R. McMullian, retired as an executive at Flowers Foods in 2004 but has served as chairman emeritus since 2006. The elder Mr. McMullian, who is 80, has been a member of the company’s board of directors since 2001 and was a director of the predecessor business Flowers Industries, Inc., beginning in 1975. He was c.e.o. of Flowers Industries from 1981 until 2001 and Flowers Foods from 2001 until 2004.

Other members of Flowers’ board of directors include: Rhonda O. Gass, vice-president and chief information officer of Stanley Black & Decker; Benjamin H. Griswold IV, partner and chairman of Brown Advisory; Margaret G. Lewis, retired president of HCA’s Capital Division; David V. Singer, retired c.e.o. of Snyder’s-Lance, Inc.; James T. Spear, retired executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Cadence Health; Melvin T. Stith, dean emeritus of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in New York; and C. Martin Wood III, a partner in Wood Associates.