Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO), producer of Nature's OwnWonderTastykake, Dave's Killer Bread, and other bakery foods, has announced several key appointments consistent with the company's management succession plan.

Effective May 23, 2019, Bradley K. Alexander, president of Flowers' Fresh Packaged Bread Business Unit, has been named chief operating officer of Flowers Foods. He now oversees the company's Fresh Packaged Bread and Snacking/Specialty Business Units, Supply Chain, and Sales, and is responsible for driving the execution of Flowers' strategic initiatives.

Also effective May 23, 2019, H. Mark Courtney, senior vice president of retail accounts, has been named president of the Fresh Packaged Bread Business Unit. He is now responsible for driving innovation, growth, and profitability across the company's key core and growth brands, which include Nature's Own, Wonder, Dave's Killer Bread and Canyon Bakehouse.

The company also announced that Stephen R. Avera, chief legal counsel, will retire at the end of the year after 33 years of service. Stephanie B. Tillman, the company's vice president, chief compliance officer, and deputy general counsel, will succeed him on January 1, 2020.

Ryals McMullian, Flowers Foods' president and chief executive officer, said, "We are fortunate to have an executive of Brad's experience, who has served as COO in the past, return to this important position. When we put our new organizational structure in place in 2017, we asked him to lead the formation and development of our new Fresh Packaged Bread Business Unit as president. Brad built a best-in-class team, integrated that team into our new organizational structure, and developed an atmosphere of creativity, accountability, and execution. With the new structure firmly in place, I am delighted to have him back in this role as a key strategic advisor. Brad will continue to build on the work we've already done to make Flowers a more agile, efficient, and profitable company. 

"As leader of our Fresh Packaged Bread Business Unit, Mark's understanding of marketplace dynamics and retail partners will guide our key core and growth brands in today's rapidly changing retail environment," McMullian continued. "He has more than 35 years' experience in retail sales, category management, and the baking industry, and I expect Mark to continue to drive innovation and profitable brand growth."

In commenting on Steve Avera's upcoming retirement, McMullian said, "I want to express our deep appreciation to Steve for his service to our company. Steve has been an integral part of our legal team since joining the company in 1986, and I consider it a privilege to have been able to work with him as part of that team. His thoughtful counsel has helped guide Flowers through many significant events and transactions. We wish him the very best in his retirement."

McMullian continued, "It's a testament to Flowers' succession planning that we have someone of such high caliber as Stephanie to transition to the role of chief legal counsel. Since joining Flowers' legal team in 1995, Stephanie has handled a broad range of legal matters, modernized our compliance capabilities, and consistently provided outstanding counsel and sound judgment to senior leadership. We look forward to her future contributions."

Alexander, 60, joined the company in 1981, and has held positions in sales, operations, and marketing, including bakery president, regional vice president, and president of Flowers Bakeries. He was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Flowers Foods in 2014 and president of the company's Fresh Packaged Bread Business Unit in 2017.

Courtney, 58, joined the company in 1983 and has held positions in sales and marketing, including executive vice president of Flowers' specialty snack business. He was named senior vice president of sales in 2008 and senior vice president of retail accounts in 2017.

Tillman, 48, joined the company as a corporate attorney in 1995 and was promoted to vice president and associate general counsel; vice president of compliance and assistant general counsel; and vice president, chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel.