THOMASVILLE, GA. — Heeth Varnedoe has been promoted to chief transformation officer at Flowers Foods, Inc., a newly created role that will give Mr. Varnedoe oversight for implementing key, cross-functional initiatives focused on Flowers’ long-term strategic plans.

Mr. Varnedoe, currently senior vice president of DSD regions/sales, will take over his new responsibilities on Jan. 4, 2021.

Flowers said Mr. Varnedoe’s initial focus will center on the company’s digital and enterprise resource planning (ERP) initiative, which is a newly launched, multi-year effort to transform the company’s organizational capabilities, implement new technologies, and make data-driven decisions.

Details of the initiative have been unveiled over the past several months, with A. Ryals McMullian, president and chief executive officer, offering insight last month into the multi-year upgrade of Flowers’ ERP system.

“The creation of a transformation office puts fresh emphasis on transparency, collaboration, and new ways of working at Flowers and allows us to ensure that initiatives are effectively meeting their planned operating and financial goals,” Mr. McMullian said. “Heeth was a clear choice for this important position. Not only has he demonstrated strong leadership managing our portfolio optimization work, but he’s also been a champion of the evolutionary steps our company has been taking over the past few years and has a deep understanding and experience of Flowers’ sales and operations.”

Mr. Varnedoe joined Flowers in 1990, holding a number of management positions, including president of the company’s bakery in Jacksonville, Fla. He left Flowers in 2000 to pursue other business interests. Mr. Varnedoe rejoined Flowers in 2012 as vice president of national accounts. In 2016, he was promoted to president of the company’s Phoenix bakery and was named to his current role in 2017.

His father, Heeth Varnedoe III, spent his 37-year career with Flowers, retiring in 1997 as chief operating officer. He was chairman of the American Bakers Association in 1989-90.