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GMA to Honor Leaders from ConAgra, Walgreens, Flowers Foods

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) will honor former ConAgra Foods CEO Gary Rodkin, former Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson and George Deese, chairman of Flowers Foods, with the GMA Hall of Achievement Award in August.

As GMA’s highest honor, the Hall of Achievement Award recognizes the service and extraordinary contributions of distinguished food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry leaders. This year's trio of honorees will be presented with the award at GMA’s Leadership Forum at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

“Gary Rodkin, Greg Wasson and George Deese are prime examples of leaders in the consumer package goods industry who are committed to strengthening our industry and who are making a difference in the everyday lives of consumers,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA.

Rodkin, who joined ConAgra Foods in 2005, led the company’s portfolio restructuring, organizational rewiring and significant culture change. His work in driving simplicity was featured in the December 2007 "Harvard Business Review." Prior to joining ConAgra, Rodkin held various leadership positions at PepsiCo and its subsidiaries, Tropicana Products Inc. and General Mills. He served as chairman of the GMA board of directors from 2011-13; chairman of its Government Affairs Committee from 2008-11; and was instrumental in the launch of the Facts Up Front labeling initiative. Rodkin serves on the board of Food Marketing Institute and Avon Products and is also chairman of Boys Town. Rodkin is a member of the Strategic Air Command Consultation Committee, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and is a Fellow of Executive Education at Harvard Business School.

Wasson’s tenure at Walgreens began in 1980 as a pharmacy intern while enrolled at Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy. He rose through the ranks, managing pharmacies, leading operations and serving as COO before being named president and CEO in 2009. During his time as CEO, Wasson is credited with leading Walgreens through a rebranding campaign that revamped the look and feel of its stores, as well as enhancing and expanding services. In 2010, Wasson spearheaded the acquisition of New York-based pharmacy chain Duane Reade, and in 2012, identified the opportunity and put into motion the company’s strategic partnership with Alliance Boots, leading to the full merger of the companies on Dec. 31, 2014. Wasson serves on the board of directors of Verizon Communications Inc., Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago, and is a member of The Business Council. Previously, Wasson served on the boards of Alliance Boots, AmerisourceBergen, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Consumer Goods Forum.

Deese joined Flowers Foods in 1964 as a route salesman and was successively promoted to higher levels of responsibility. He was elected president and CEO in 2004, chairman of the board in 2006 and non-executive chairman in 2014. Deese is credited with growing Flowers Foods into the second-largest baking company in the United States through organic growth, market expansion and strategic acquisitions. Integrally involved in helping to develop the Grain Foods Foundation, Deese, a GMA member since 2002, served on the trade organization's board and on its executive and finance committees. He also has served on the boards of the American Bakers Association, Quality Bakers of America and Southern Bakers Association. Currently, he serves on the Mayo Clinic Florida Leadership Council.

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