THOMASVILLE, Ga. -- Flowers Foods said its board has elected Allen L. Shiver president and CEO effective May 22, 2013, the date of the company's annual shareholders' meeting. Shiver has 33 years of service with the company and currently serves as president. George E. Deese, current chairman and CEO, has been elected executive chairman.
The move is consistent with the company's management succession plan.
Irving, Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc. recently as selected Flowers Foods as the stalking-horse bidder for the majority of the assets related to the company's bread business, including the Butternut, Home Pride, Merita, Nature's Pride and Wonder brands. The agreement includes, in addition to the brands, 20 bakeries, 38 depots and other assets. The purchase price consists of $355 million in cash (increased to $360 million if certain license rights are included in the sale). The company's remaining bread brands, as well as its snack cake business, will be sold separately.
Hostess has also selected Flowers Foods as the stalking-horse bidder for the company's Beefsteak bread brand. The purchase price consists of $30 million in cash for the brand.
Allen Shiver (left), George Deese"This is a time of exciting opportunities for Flowers Foods, and the board and I are confident in Allen's continued leadership as our team integrates recent acquisitions and focuses on growing sales and earnings," Deese said. "My role as executive chairman is to ensure that our strategic direction is sound and that Flowers' culture--what defines our team as unique in our industry--remains strong so we can continue to build value for our shareholders."
Shiver said that Flowers Foods will remain focused on strengthening its position in the U.S. fresh baked foods market. "With pending acquisitions and market expansions currently underway, we expect to surpass our 2016 goal of reaching 75% of the U.S. population with our fresh baked foods three years ahead of schedule," he said. "Even so, we will have significant growth opportunities in our new markets and in our core territories for years to come and I am confident on our team's ability to achieve our long-term growth objectives."
At Flowers Foods, Shiver, 57, has been promoted to increasing levels of responsibility in sales, marketing and operations. Since being named president in 2010, he has provided operational oversight, been involved in strategic growth initiatives and given guidance to the company's national sales and marketing efforts.
Deese was elected CEO in 2004, and continued Flowers' decades-long tradition of consistent sales growth through acquisitions, market expansion and organic growth in core markets, said the company. Under his leadership as CEO, Flowers Foods grew from a regional baked foods company with access to 38% of the U.S. population and annual sales of $1.5 billion in 2004 to the second-largest baking company in the country with more than $3 billion in sales and access to more than 75% of the population for its fresh baked foods. During Deese's tenure as CEO, Flowers Foods created more than $3 billion for shareholders in increased market capitalization and dividends.
Deese's career with Flowers Foods spans 48 years. Starting as route salesperson in Alabama, he was promoted to increasingly senior-level positions. From 1983 until 2002, Deese was president and COO of Flowers Bakeries, the company's fresh baked foods business. He was elected president and COO of Flowers Foods in 2002, CEO in 2004, and chairman in 2006.
"Deese is an exceptional leader who has been integral to Flowers' growth for more than four decades. His insight and collaborative management style have helped create the operating strategies and company culture that set Flowers Foods apart from not only its bakery peers, but also others in the food industry. George's continued guidance will be essential as the company navigates new growth opportunities while working to preserve its unique culture and strategic direction," said Benjamin H. Griswold IV, presiding director of Flowers' board.
Based in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods is one of the largest producers of packaged bakery foods for retail and foodservice customers in the United States with 2012 sales of $3.05 billion. It operates 44 bakeries that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company's top brands are Nature's Own and Tastykake.