THOMASVILLE, GA. — D. Keith Wheeler, chief sales officer at Flowers Foods, Inc., will retire at the end of 2023, the company announced Aug. 10. Mr. Wheeler, who has spent 35 years at Flowers, will step down from his current role at the end of August and will serve until Dec. 31 as a senior adviser to A. Ryals McMullian, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Keith for his years of exemplary service to our company,” Mr. McMullian said. “His unique combination of leadership, communication, and collaboration — together with an in-depth understanding of our business — has had a tremendous impact on our company’s success. Flowers Foods and the teams Keith has led throughout his career have benefited greatly from his extensive experience, industry knowledge, and friendship. We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Mr. Wheeler has been with Flowers since 1988 and was named to his current position in May 2017. From 2014 until 2017, Mr. Wheeler was president of Flowers Bakeries, the direct-store delivery business that, at the time, accounted for 83% of the company’s sales. Before that he was senior vice president for Flowers’ West Coast region. Earlier in his career Mr. Wheeler gained experience in operations, accounting and sales with positions that included regional controller, vice president of operations, director of strategic planning and bakery president.

In his roles, Mr. Wheeler “led numerous large-scale projects important to the company’s growth, including integrating several bakery and brand acquisitions and expanding distribution networks in key markets,” Flowers said.

Mr. Wheeler is a 1986 graduate of the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting.