CEO Series spotlights Flowers Foods president

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Flowers Foods President and CEO Allen Shiver runs a $3.9 billion business that stocks grocery store shelves with bread, buns, snack cakes and tortillas from 49 fresh bakeries and warehouses nationwide.

Anywhere from 140 to 160 loaves per minute are produced.

“It’s not your corner bakery,” Shiver said.

Its growth tells a success story other CEOs envy. In 2016, the company had a 3.9 percent increase compared to the previous year. That represented $642.7 million in warehouse sales and $3.3 billion in direct store delivery last year.

On Tuesday, Shiver was the featured business executive in the CEO Series put on by the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. The monthly series brings local CEOs together to network and learn from each other.

Chamber President and CEO Sue Dick said each featured speaker brings a unique story and perspective on their successes, challenges and needs.

“What we want to do is create an opportunity for these CEOs to learn from each other,” Dick said. “Look to the success of the companies and why they are still here in the Tallahassee market. There’s a formula that works in order to be in the Tallahassee market, whether it’s the workforce or the relationships or the quality of life.”

Headquartered in Thomasville, Georgia, Flowers Foods is a leading producer of packaged bakery goods and has access to more than 85 percent of the U.S population.

Some of its brands include Nature’s Own, the top bread brand in the U.S with $1 billion in sales in 2016, Wonder, Cobblestone and Tastykake. Within the last two years, Flowers Foods acquired Dave’s Killer Bread, the No. 1 organic bread company in the country.

The company has a total of 10,000 employees and has a second chance program where it hires recent felons. Shiver talked about talent retention and recruitment efforts and its approach to baby boomers and millennials.

“It comes down to having the right people on the team and then providing them with the education and leadership and permission to run their business,” Shiver said. But there are differences, he said. For example, Shiver said millennials want frequent feedback. Instead of annual reviews, the company learned quarterly reviews were more effective.

Shiver spoke of the company’s needs for information technology hires and its continued growth, which for now will be within the U.S.