One of the nation’s largest bakers, Flowers Foods Inc., Thomasville, Ga., announced several key appointments in keeping with the company's management succession plan. The following promotions are effective immediately:

  • Bradley K. Alexander named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Flowers Foods
  • D. Keith Wheeler named president of Flowers Bakeries, the company's direct-store-delivery (DSD) operating segment
  • Thomas E. Wilson named senior vice president of Flowers Bakeries' West Coast region

"These management changes position Flowers Foods for continued growth and are in line with our long-term leadership development strategy and management succession plan,” says Allen L. Shiver, Flowers Foods' president and CEO. “The operational leaders we've announced today and those throughout our company remain focused on building value for our shareholders in the years ahead."

Officials say Alexander, 55, began his career with Flowers in 1981.He has held various positions in sales, operations and marketing, including bakery president and vice president of sales and marketing. Alexander was named regional vice president for Flowers Bakeries in 2003. In 2008, he was promoted to president of Flowers Bakeries, the company's DSD segment, which represents 83% of sales.

With the new appointment, Alexander is responsible for company operations, including the DSD and warehouse segments, as well as supply chain, marketing and product innovation.

The position of chief operating officer was previously held by Gene D. Lord, 67. Lord continues to serve as executive vice president, providing support for operations with a focus on the integration of assets acquired from Old HB, Inc. (formerly Hostess Brands).

Wheeler, 50, began his career with Flowers in 1988. His experience with the company includes operational, accounting, and sales positions, including regional controller, vice president of operations, director of strategic planning, and bakery president.

Prior to this appointment, Wheeler served as senior vice president for the company's West Coast region. In his new role, Wheeler provides direction for Flowers Bakeries' six DSD sales regions. Collectively, these regions reach 79% of the U.S. population with the company's fresh breads, buns, rolls, and snack cakes.

Wilson, 59, joined Flowers Foods in 2008 when the company acquired Holsum Bakery in Arizona. His career in the baking industry began in 1979 and he has held leadership positions in sales and operations, including vice president of sales and marketing, executive vice president, and bakery president, the position he held prior to his current appointment.

In his new position as senior vice president of Flowers' West Coast region, Wilson takes on responsibilities previously held by Wheeler.

Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States with 2013 sales of $3.75 billion. The company operates bakeries nationwide that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company's brands are Nature's Own, Wonder, and Tastykake.