Fred Cooper is the retired Chairman and CEO of CooperSmith a baked goods company he founded. He previously served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Flower Foods one of the largest baking companies in America.
Born in Thomasville, Georgia, Fred graduated from Washington & Lee then from University of Georgia Law School. Fred enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Fred joined Flowers in 1973 as their first General Counsel, was promoted EVP then to President. He was elected as Vice-Chairman in 1986. During Fred’s time as President of Flowers, Forbes said Flowers was the third most profitable specialized food company in the U.S. over the past five years. Only Kellogg’s and Hershey Foods “returned more in terms of dividends and capital appreciation to their shareholders.” During Fred’s 16 years at Flowers Foods, it went public on the New York Stock Exchange, created and acquired many famous brands in baking, became a Fortune 500 company and transitioned from a regional southern bakery to a national food company.
Fred founded CooperSmith in 1990 which produced bread, rolls and buns and it grew quickly through acquisitions including Smith’s Bakery, Kern’s, Swan, American Bread Company, My Bread Baking Company and Waldensian Bakeries. In 1996 CooperSmith was the thirteenth largest private company in Atlanta and had 3,000 employees. Fred sold CooperSmith to Earthgrains in 1997 giving them a strong presence in the Southeast and New England.
Fred is a leader in the baking industry previously serving on the board and as Chairman of the American Bakers Association.
Fred helped grow the modern Republican Party in Georgia winning the Party Chairmanship in 1981 and later served as the Georgia Chairman of the President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush campaigns. In 2003 President Bush appointed Fred as the Chairman of the G8 Summit Host Committee.
Fred’s success in the baking business and politics is due to his vision, leadership, relationship building, work ethic, collaborative management style and his love of his home state of Georgia. His sons Jay and Derick Cooper continue his legacy.