THOMASVILLE, GA. — Flowers Foods, Inc. has elevated two leaders to new executive positions within the company, including the promotion of Heeth Varnedoe to president.

Mr. Varnedoe has been chief operating officer at Flowers since January 2023. He will continue as COO once he becomes president on Sept. 1. Mr. Varnedoe joined Flowers in 1990, holding several management positions, including president of the company’s bakery in Jacksonville, Fla. He left Flowers in 2000 to pursue other business interests and rejoined Flowers in 2012 as vice president of national accounts. In 2016, he was promoted to president of the company’s Phoenix bakery, and in 2017 was named senior vice president of DSD regions/sales. In January 2021 he was promoted to the newly-created role of chief transformation officer, giving him oversight of cross-functional initiatives focused on the company’s long-term strategic plans. His initial assignment as CTO was the company’s digital and enterprise resource planning initiative.

A graduate of Presbyterian College, South Clinton, SC, he holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and history. Mr. Varnedoe’s father, the late Heeth Varnedoe III, spent his 37-year career with Flowers, holding the position of president and COO of the company.

“Congratulations to Heeth on his well-deserved promotion,” said A. Ryals McMullian, chairman, chief executive officer and president. “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.”

Terry S. Thomas, currently a member of Flowers’ board of directors, will resign from the board and take on the newly created role of chief growth officer, reporting to Mr. McMullian. In his new role, Mr. Thomas will be responsible for leading and managing growth initiatives, product development and innovation, marketing, and customer partnerships. The transition will take effect on Sept. 1.

Mr. Thomas has been with Unilever PLC for the past nearly 11 years, including the past year and a half as global chief customer officer for personal care. Earlier he was executive vice president and chief customer officer for Unilever US. Prior to Unilever he was with PepsiCo, Inc. for more than six years in various VP roles.

He received a bachelor’s degree in economics at Northwestern University and a master’s degree in marketing and international business management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“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,” Mr. McMullian said. “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.”

In addition to the leadership changes, Flowers elected two new independent directors to its board, effective Oct. 1. Joining the board are Brigitte King, global chief digital officer at Colgate-Palmolive Co., and Joanne Smith, executive vice president and chief people officer at Delta Air Lines. MBN