THOMASVILLE, GA — Amos R. McMullian, baking industry leader and retired CEO and chairman of the board of Flowers Foods, died on Oct. 18. He was 85 years old.

“Our company, the baking industry and our community have lost a visionary, great leader and friend,” said George E. Deese, Flowers Foods’ current chairman of the board. “His contributions were immeasurable. His integrity, commitment and sound judgement inspired those around him. It has been my honor and pleasure to work and serve with a person I truly respect and love. He will be greatly missed.”

McMullian’s career with Flowers — and his contributions to the baking industry — span more than five decades, starting when he was hand-picked by W. H. Flowers, Jr., then-CEO and son of the company’s founder, to join Flowers’ management team in 1963. McMullian went on to serve as the company’s fourth CEO from 1981 to 2003. He served on the board of directors from 1976 until he retired as chairman emeritus in 2019.

In 2019, he was inducted into the American Society of Baking’s Baking Hall of Fame.

During his 22 years as CEO, McMullian guided the company through one of its greatest periods of growth as it transformed from a regional bakery to a national food company. Under his guidance, Flowers completed more than 60 mergers and acquisitions, invested in creating highly automated “next-generation bakeries,” expanded into new segments within the bakery category, and built the baking industry’s first billion-dollar bread brand, Nature’s Own.

McMullian’s business philosophy focused on success through least-cost manufacturing, innovation in manufacturing and distribution systems, product quality, and employee achievement and advancement. His ability to take a strategic “long view” allowed Flowers’ management team to take the best advantage of changing business and industry trends.

His leadership style was built on the values of honor, courage and commitment, which he honed during three years of service in the United States Marine Corps. He was a strong believer in personal and corporate citizenship, having helped established FloPAC, one of the country’s first political action committees, and playing an instrumental role in developing the American Bakers PAC.



“Our company, the baking industry and our community have lost a visionary, great leader and friend.” —George E. Deese | chairman of the board | Flowers Foods


Throughout his career, he gave back to industry and business, serving in leadership roles on many boards including Hughes Supply, the American Bakers Association, Quality Bakers of America, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Georgia Research Alliance.

McMullian was born in Jackson County, FL and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida State University. He joined Flowers in 1963 as assistant manager, first at the Thomasville, GA bakery, followed by the Atlanta Baking Company.

After serving as regional VP, McMullian was named president and COO and elected to Flowers’ board of directors in 1976. He was named CEO in 1981, succeeding Langdon S. Flowers, and was elected chairman of the board in 1985.

Following his retirement as CEO in 2003, McMullian continued to serve as non-executive chairman of the board until 2005.

McMullian is survived by his wife, Jackie, and their children, Ryals McMullian and Britton McMullian Josey; his brother, Andy McMullian; and his sister, Cherry Klappas.