George E. Deese is non-executive chairman of the board of Flowers Foods, the second-largest producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods in the United States. During George’s 50-year career with Flowers, he led the team to develop highly effective growth and operating strategies. He also fostered Flowers’ unique culture, which stresses the value of every employee and is supported by the principles he defined: integrity, service, quality, and commitment.
As non-executive chairman of the board, George continues to be involved in Flowers Foods’ strategic direction.
Under his exceptional leadership, Flowers continued its decades-long strategy to grow sales through acquisitions, market expansion, and organic growth in core markets. Following the spin-off of Flowers Foods in 2001, the company grew from a regional baked foods company with access to 38 percent of the U.S. population and annual sales of $1.5 billion to the second-largest baking company in the country with more than $3.7 billion in sales and access to more than 75 percent of the U.S. population. During his career, George helped drive Nature’s Own to be the best-selling bread brand in the U.S., and was at the forefront of developing the industry’s Grain Foods Foundation.
A respected and well-known leader in the baking industry, George gave his time and energy to serve in leadership roles on the boards of the American Bakers Association, Quality Bakers of America, and Southern Bakers Association. He enjoyed his association with these organizations and deeply appreciated the support of all allied companies. Our industry benefited greatly from George’s high ethical standards, strong leadership, and deep knowledge and passion for the baking industry.
George Deese began his career with Flowers in 1964 as a route salesperson. Working up the ranks, he was promoted in 1980 to president of Flower’s Atlanta bakery, its largest operation at the time. His career continued to move forward—to regional vice president over six bakeries in the Southeast and in 1982 to president of Flowers Bakeries, the company’s largest operating group. In 2003, he was appointed president and COO of Flowers Foods. In 2004, George served as CEO and president and was elected to the company’s board. He was named chairman of the board in 2006. He gave up the president title in 2010 and remained chairman of the board and CEO until May, 2013, when he was named executive chairman of the board. At the end of 2014, George became non-executive chairman of the board.
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