THOMASVILLE, GA. — Penny Patterson-Smith has been named chief innovation officer at Flowers Foods, Inc. In the newly created role Ms. Patterson-Smith will be responsible for driving Flowers forward “through meaningful differentiated innovation that satisfies consumer needs, excites retailers and, ultimately, grows sales for our company, our distribution partners, and the category,” the company said.

Prior to being promoted to her new position in May, Ms. Patterson-Smith was senior vice president of cake brands at Flowers since January 2020. Before joining Flowers she was president of Echo Unlimited, Inc. and franchise owner of Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa. Earlier, she was director of global chocolate innovation at Hershey Co. for more than nine years. She also has worked as a senior brand manager at Masterfood, brand manager at Colgate-Palmolive and associate brand manager at Nabisco.

She received a bachelor’s degree in government and economics at Skidmore College and a master’s degree in business and policy studies at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

“By creating this role, Flowers is clearly defining an ambition,” Ms. Patterson-Smith said. “We have great brands within our portfolio, and we have a portfolio strategy that’s working. A great foundation for us, certainly. And now we’re ready for more.”