Flowers Foods Inc., Thomasville, GA, recently announced that, consistent with the management succession plan established by its board of directors five years ago, George E. Deese, age 68, will retire as executive chairman of the board at the end of 2014. He will become nonexecutive chairman of the board and continue to be involved in the strategic direction of the company.

Allen L. Shiver will continue to serve as president and CEO. With Flowers Foods for 36 years, Shriver was elected president in 2010 and CEO in 2013, when Deese moved to the position of executive chairman.

“In 2013, the board asked that I serve as executive chairman while the company completed the integration of several major acquisitions and growth opportunities, including Tasty Baking, Lepage Bakeries and the Hostess bread assets,” said Deese. “We also wanted to ensure an orderly transition to the next generation of leadership for our company. I am confident in the integration progress of the acquisitions as well as the operations initiatives Allen and his team are pursuing.”

Deese joined Flowers’ sales department in 1964 and was successively promoted to higher levels of responsibility. He served for almost 20 years as president and chief operating officer of Flowers Bakeries, the company’s core business. Under his leadership, Flowers Foods grew from a strong regional baker to the second-largest baking company in the U.S.