Bakery foods producer Flowers Foods, Inc. has announced that the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Ryals McMullian, has been promoted to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer, effective as of the company’s 2019 annual meeting of shareholders. The previous President and CEO, Allen L. Shiver, will be retiring and stepping down from the Board, though he will continue to serve in his current position and as a board member until the annual meeting, after which he will serve as a non-executive special advisor to the company through the end of the year.
"Succession planning has long been an important priority for the Board, and we are pleased to elect Ryals as Flowers Foods' next President and CEO," said Benjamin H. Griswold, IV, Presiding Director of Flowers' Board. "Ryals has been a driving force behind the effort to grow the company into new areas we believe can enhance shareholder value and strengthen our competitive position. He has done an outstanding job aligning the team behind our strategic goals and pushing our efforts forward. We are confident he is the right choice to take the helm at this exciting and important time in our company's history."
McMullian joined Flowers Foods in 2003 and since 2016 has directed the company’s Project Centennial. He served in roles of increasing responsibility, including Deputy General Counsel, Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions, and Chief Strategy Officer, before being named COO in July 2018.
"I'm deeply honored to accept this responsibility," said McMullian, in a press release. "I firmly believe in Flowers' vision and long-term strategic plan. We will leverage the power of our unique culture to foster an even greater sense of ownership, engagement, and accountability among all team members. We will continue to take the necessary steps to better position Flowers for future growth in a dynamic business environment by strengthening critical brand-building capabilities, moving into growing adjacent segments, and better leveraging our cost structure. I am energized by the exciting opportunities that lie ahead to grow shareholder value."
Commenting on Allen Shiver's 41-year career with the company, George E. Deese, Non-Executive Chairman of Flowers Foods' Board of Directors said, "Allen has been a strong advocate for our company and the baking industry. He has made significant contributions to the development of our brands and the growth of the company through key acquisitions, such as Dave's Killer Bread, and he led the team during the development and implementation of the company's strategic transformation under Project Centennial. On behalf of the board, I thank Allen for his many years of service. We look forward to continuing to work with him during the transition period."
Outgoing CEO, Shiver first joined the company in 1978 and since 2013 has served as President and CEO. Currently he serves as an American Bakers Association (ABA) Board Member and as ABA’s Chairman of the Board, as well as serving as Co-Chair of the Grain Foods Foundation Board of Trustees and on the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s President’s Advisory Council and Industry Affairs Council.
"Over the past four decades, I have seen this company grow from a regional bakery to a national powerhouse, with leading brands and a strong foundation for future growth and value creation,” said Shiver. “Since 2017, our company has made great strides in establishing a strong team, and we are taking actions to improve efficiencies and enhance profitability. Ryals and I have worked closely together over the past few years, and I know I am leaving the company in very capable hands. It has truly been an honor and privilege to work with all the outstanding members of the Flowers team."
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