Flowers Foods Hires EVP of DSD Sales

PepsiCo vet James Simms to take on key role
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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James Simms
James Simms

Bakery manufacturer Flowers Foods, Inc. announced that James Simms has been appointed EVP of direct store distribution sales operations. It is a newly-created role that leverages his expertise and reflects the company’s focus in that area of business.

Prior to joining the Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods, Simms spent 20 years at PepsiCo, steadily moving up in the sales function. Most recently, he was VP, PepsiCo customer lead, charged with leading strategic growth of the company’s total portfolio with key retailers.

[Read more: “Ruiz Foods Announces Leadership Changes”]

Simms currently serves on the board of the Kappa Alpha Psi National Foundation and Corners Outreach, which contributes to the advancement of Metro Atlanta's underserved students of color by promoting educational and economic opportunities. His early career included sales and marketing positions in the foodservice and healthcare industries, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from Virginia State University. 

At Flowers Foods, he will report to Heeth Varnedoe, who was promoted to president and COO last fall. “James brings extensive sales experience and insight into the ever-evolving CPG market to the Flowers team,” Varnedoe said. “His leadership, vision, team building, and problem-solving skills will play a pivotal role in the execution of our current and future sales strategies.”

Flowers Foods operates bakeries around the country that produce a variety of products. Its brands include Nature’s Own, Dave’s Killer Bread, Wonder, Canyon Bakehouse and Tastykake. The company turned in a strong performance for its latest fiscal period ending Oct. 7, 2023, with a 3.5% increase in sales to reach a third-quarter record of $1.199 billion. 

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