MEXICO CITY — Tony Gavin has been named president of Bimbo Bakeries USA, effective March 31. At the helm of BBU, the largest commercial baking company in the United States, Mr. Gavin will succeed Fred Penny, who has led the US business of Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV for 10 years.
The succession at BBU was announced in the Grupo Bimbo fourth-quarter financial results and included other leadership changes at Mexico City-based Bimbo. Rafael Pamias has been named chief operating officer of Grupo Bimbo, and the responsibilities of Mark Bendix, executive vice president of Grupo Bimbo, are broadening to include BBU, in addition to Bimbo Canada and Bimbo QSR.
Bimbo described all the changes as “consistent with its succession plan and its long-term vision.”
Mr. Gavin currently is executive vice president of BBU. He has been with the company for 20 years and before that held positions at George Weston Bakeries; Best Foods, Inc.; and CPC International, Inc. Active in industry affairs, Mr. Gavin in 2022 was elected to the board of directors of the American Bakers Association.
“Tony’s primary passion has been growth by supporting our front line, and I am confident that this mindset, along with his care for our associates as well as our company, will fuel his success in this new role,” said Daniel Servitje, president and chief executive officer of Grupo Bimbo.
As president of BBU, Mr. Gavin will report to Mr. Bendix, who has been with Grupo Bimbo since 2017 and leads Bimbo QSR. Mr. Bendix has held leadership positions at numerous prominent grain-based foods companies. Beginning in 1984, Mr. Bendix spent his early career at The Quaker Oats Co. From 1996 until 2001, he was a vice president and general manager at The Pillsbury Co. With Pillsbury’s acquisition by General Mills, Inc., Mr. Bendix spent three years at General Mills in executive roles. He was president and chief operating officer of The Bama Companies, Inc. from 2005 to 2012. Beginning in 2013, he became president of East Balt, a major supplier of baked foods to quick-service restaurants. East Balt was acquired by Bimbo in 2017 and renamed Bimbo QSR, a business he has led since that time.
“Mark has vast experience in the industry and the energy, working with Tony Gavin, to take BBU to the next level and realize its full potential,” Mr. Servitje said. “I’m confident that Mark will take on this new challenge with passion and perseverance.”
Mr. Pamias as COO will lead the four global regions of Grupo Bimbo as well as sustainability and global marketing. He will report directly to Mr. Servitje. The position of COO is new to Grupo Bimbo.
Mr. Pamias has been with Bimbo since August 2017, first as senior vice president and then as executive vice president. He has led the company’s Latin America region and has had responsibility for research and development and marketing. Before joining Bimbo, Mr. Pamias spent more than 11 years at Groupe Danone, most recently as a regional general manager, dairy.
He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration and management from ESADE in Barcelona and a master’s degree in international management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.
Commenting on the promotion, Mr. Servitje credited Mr. Pamias with successfully turning around Bimbo businesses in Brazil and Argentina as well as launching Bimbo’s ambitious sustainability strategy.
“His ample experience in the industry and his great proven leadership skills have helped Bimbo reach our vision and fulfill our mission,” Mr. Servitje said. “I know that Rafa will take on this responsibility with energy and enthusiasm.
With his retirement, Mr. Penny will be concluding a career in baking dating back more than 40 years.
He launched his baking career in a finance position with the bakery group of Kraft Foods Inc. and advanced through a number of positions of growing responsibility through the 1980s. In 1990, he was named director of strategic planning and productivity for Kraft Baking and was promoted to general manager of the Intermountain market area in 1993, based in Denver. Four years later he became vice president and general manager in the Northeast. During this period the business changed ownership numerous times, and he was promoted to executive vice president of George Weston Bakeries, Inc. in 2007. He was an executive vice president of BBU when he was promoted to president in 2013.
Mr. Servitje called Mr. Penny an “incredible leader and friend of the Grupo Bimbo family.”
“During his leadership, BBU focused and upgraded its manufacturing operations, invested in sales systems and automation across the supply chain and made important strategic acquisitions to position the business for future success,” Mr. Servitje said. “Through this work, as well as advances in safety; diversity, equity and belonging; and sustainability, BBU has become an important player in the industry.”
As president of BBU, Mr. Penny worked to create a single company culture in a business created through the combination of several large baking companies, including Sara Lee, Weston and Mrs Baird’s.
During Mr. Penny’s tenure as president of BBU, Grupo Bimbo made numerous acquisitions, though most them were outside of the United States, beginning with the purchase of Canada Bread in 2014. Smaller acquisitions were made in US baking, including the 2020 purchase of Lender’s Bagels. More recently, Grupo Bimbo acquired St Pierre Groupe, a United Kingdom-based baker with a growing US presence.Mr. Penny served as chairman of the American Bakers Association from 2016-18.