THOMASVILLE, Ga. — Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO), producer of Nature’s Own, Wonder, Tastykake, Dave’s Killer Bread, and other bakery foods, today named Robert L. Benton, Jr., currently chief supply chain officer, to the newly created role of executive vice president of network optimization, effective immediately. Benton will focus solely on designing and executing capital projects that support the company’s portfolio optimization effort. He will continue as an officer of the company, reporting to Ryals McMullian, Flowers Foods’ president and chief executive officer.
The company has begun an external search process for a new chief supply chain officer. To ensure a smooth transition, Benton will maintain the position until a successor is named.
“As we embark on our portfolio optimization journey, we intend to invest in bakery automation and in our logistics network to create a more powerful and efficient enterprise,” said McMullian. “We plan to reduce complexity and establish an optimized bakery footprint that can deliver consistently high-quality bakery foods at the lowest possible cost. I can think of no better person to oversee these efforts than Robert. Throughout his almost 40-year career with Flowers, Robert has demonstrated that he is one of the most knowledgeable and capable engineers in the industry, and I look forward to working closely with him to build the Flowers of tomorrow.”
Benton joined the company in 1980, and during his tenure, his responsibilities have included manufacturing and distribution productivity and efficiency, capital projects, regulatory and quality assurance, and safety and environmental affairs. He has overseen the design and construction of 10 new bakeries, the redesign and installation of more than 50 major production lines and has played a vital role in the integration of numerous acquisitions.
Prior to being named chief supply chain officer in 2017, Benton served as senior vice president and chief manufacturing officer, senior vice president of manufacturing and operations support, vice president of manufacturing, and held local and regional manufacturing positions within the company. In addition, he has served in leadership roles with a number of industry groups, including the American Institute of Baking, the American Society of Baking, and Baking Equipment Manufacturers and Allied.
About Flowers Foods
Headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States with 2018 sales of $4.0 billion. Flowers operates bakeries across the country that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company’s top brands are Nature’s Own, Wonder, Dave’s Killer Bread, and Tastykake. Learn more at www.flowersfoods.com.
Statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to current expectations regarding long-term strategic and other objectives of management and the expected benefits of the management changes and are often identified by the use of words and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “is likely to,” “is expected to” or “will continue,” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those projected. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements contained in this release and that may affect the company’s prospects in general include, but are not limited to, (a) general economic and business conditions and the competitive conditions in the baked foods industry, including promotional and price competition, (b) changes in consumer demand for our products, including changes in consumer behavior, trends and preferences, including health and whole grain trends, and the movement toward more inexpensive store-branded products, (c) the success of productivity improvements and new product introductions, (d) a significant reduction in business with any of our major customers including a reduction from adverse developments in any of our customer’s business, including as a result of product recalls or safety concerns related to our products, (e) fluctuations in commodity pricing, (f) energy and raw material costs and availability and hedging and counterparty risk, (g) our ability to fully integrate recent acquisitions into our business, (h) our ability to achieve cash flow from capital expenditures and acquisitions and the availability of new acquisitions that build shareholder value, (i) our ability to successfully implement our business strategies, including those strategies the company has initiated under Project Centennial, which may involve, among other things, the integration of recent acquisitions or the acquisition or disposition of assets at presently targeted values, the deployment of new systems and technology and an enhanced organizational structure, (j) consolidation within the baking industry and related industries, (k) disruptions in our direct-store delivery system, including litigation or an adverse ruling from a court or regulatory or government body that could affect the independent contractor classification of our independent distributors, (l) increasing legal complexity and legal proceedings that we are or may become subject to, (m) product recalls or safety concerns related to our products, and (n) the failure of our information technology systems to perform adequately, including any interruptions, intrusions or security breaches of such systems. The foregoing list of important factors does not include all such factors, nor necessarily present them in order of importance. In addition, you should consult other public disclosures made by the company, including the risk factors included in our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and disclosures made in other filings with the SEC and company press releases, for other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected by the company. We caution you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, as they speak only as of the date made and are inherently uncertain. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise or update such statements, except as required by law.