KANSAS CITY — Throughout the past 50 years, Frederick E. Cooper served almost too many roles to count from attorney, adviser and facilitator to consolidator, lobbyist and philanthropist. But perhaps the biggest influence by the politically minded businessman came as a champion for the baking industry and a leading advocate in Washington against a formidable list of laws and federal regulations that continue to impact the bottom lines of bakeries.
As an active member of the American Bakers Association (ABA), he served as chairman of the BreadPAC political action committee, where he restructured and strengthened fundraising and lobbying effectiveness by encouraging bakers to get politically involved in shaping how the laws and regulations affect the industry. He also served as ABA chairman and as an officer with the Independent Bakers Association and Quality Bakers of America.
During his career, Mr. Cooper spent 17 years at Flowers Industries (now Flowers Foods,), starting as the company’s first general counsel in 1973 and later as executive vice president, president and vice chairman. When it came to consolidation, he was the grandmaster at the art of negotiating. During his tenure at Flowers, he was responsible for closing dozens of acquisitions as the Thomasville, Ga.-based company’s annual sales rose from around $50 million to $1 billion.
After leaving Flowers to form CooperSmith bakeries in 1990, Mr. Cooper maintained his role as a consolidator. He also made several acquisitions to create a $350 million, regional bakery powerhouse before selling it in 1998.
Congratulations to Mr. Cooper for his upcoming induction into the American Society of Baking’s Baking Hall of Fame.