Naperville, Illinois based KeHE Distributors has announced that Deb Conklin will become its president and CEO on April 1, when Brandon Barnholt will move into the executive chairman role.
The change in executive leadership, which KeHE said is the result of a planned succession process, comes after Barnholt has helped lead the company through a time of growth during his 15 years at the helm.
During his tenure as president and CEO, KeHE expanded from a Midwest specialty distributor to the largest distributor of specialty, natural, organic and fresh products in North America, including the acquisition of Tree of Life, Nature’s Best and Monterrey Provisions.
Conklin has served as a board member for KeHE’s employee-owned enterprise. At the same time, she has been the president and CEO of the Reddy Ice company, a manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the U.S. with more than 80,000 retail customers.
“Deb is a perfect cultural fit and is uniquely qualified with a solid combination of strong distribution and commercial experience in the food retail sector,” Barnholt said. “She is a seasoned, talented executive with deep experience in the capital markets and a keen strategic mind. Beyond that, she is an enthusiastic, humble, and focused leader with a bias for action.”
Conklin has a history of driving operational improvement, customer service and building important trade relationships.
“I want to thank the whole Reddy Ice team for being incredibly supportive, and I look forward to this amazing opportunity to serve the marketplace through the KeHE platform,” Conklin said.
“The strength of KeHE’s customer portfolio and diverse supplier universe is very exciting for the future. KeHE is an important distribution and supply chain partner throughout the retail food sector, and I look forward to helping all parties grow and succeed.”
For more about the distributor, visit KeHE.com.