Packaged bakery foods company Flowers Foods has announced that George E Deese, currently president and chief executive officer, has been elected to the additional position of chairman of the board effective 1 January 2006.

The move is consistent with the company’s management succession plan established by the board of directors five years ago, it said. Amos R. McMullian, chairman of the board since 1985, has been named chairman emeritus and will continue as a member of the board.

“Flowers Foods is fortunate to have George Deese at the helm of the company and we are pleased he has accepted the chairmanship position,” said McMullian. “George has played a vital role in helping to build the company and develop its operating plan and strategic direction. He has a keen intellect, unquestionable character, and exceptional leadership ability. The company and the board are in good hands.”

Deese said he looked forward to continuing to work with the board and the management team to build on Flowers Foods’ success. “Our company is well equipped to perform for its shareholders, as well as its customers, consumers, and employees,” he said. “We have invested in our bakeries, our distribution networks, our products, our brands, and our employees to create the competitive strengths our company has today. All of us recognize that our most important job is to create value for our shareholders. We remain focused on growing our business, on driving out costs, and on creating value.”

Deese noted that it was unusual in corporate America for a company to have one leader at its helm for more than four decades. “Flowers is fortunate to have benefited from Amos’ vision and leadership since before the company listed publicly in 1968. As Flowers grew from a small, family-owned bakery into one of the most respected baking companies in the country, Amos was part of shaping our philosophy and growth strategies,” Deese said. “Only one other individual in our company has held the title of chairman emeritus and that was the late William Howard Flowers Jr.”

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