McKee Foods Names New President of Prairie City Bakery

Succeeds baked-goods company co-founder, who recently retired after 25 years

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., and VERNON HILLS, Ill. Snack food and granola manufacturer McKee Foods has named John Williams president of baked-goods subsidiary Prairie City Bakery.

John Williams

Williams has succeeded Bill Skeens, co-founder of Prairie City Bakery, who recently retired after 25 years with the company.

“I am truly excited for the opportunity to lead Prairie City Bakery into its next phase,” Williams said. “This company has a strong track record of strategic thinking paired with grassroots execution, where customer relationships, quality and service matter most. I look forward to working with the Prairie City and McKee Foods teams to ensure a prosperous and profitable future.”

Williams joined Prairie City Bakery in 2009 as vice president of marketing and was named vice president of marketing and innovation in January 2018. Throughout his 10-year tenure, Williams helped lead the company’s corporate strategy; develop and introduce new products, packaging and display design; and acquire and manage new suppliers. He has also managed key corporate accounts.

Williams also been a key member in the integration of the two companies, which merged after McKee Foods purchased Prairie City Bakery in May 2019. McKee Foods retained all of Prairie City Bakery’s employees and offices, while Prairie City Bakery kept its brand name and existing distribution channels.

“John has a passion for the bakery industry and a spirit of innovation that fits well with the McKee Foods vision for the future,” said Andy Lang, CEO of Prairie City Bakery and chief financial office of McKee Foods. “I am confident that John will do a great job leading the Prairie City Bakery team and continuing to grow the business.”

Prior to joining Prairie City Bakery, Williams held leadership roles with companies including Baker & Baker, Unilever Food Solutions, MillerCoors and Solo Cup Co.

Founded in 1994, Prairie City Bakery, Vernon Hills, Ill., provides fully baked, thaw-and-sell bakery solutions to the convenience store, foodservice and in-store bakery channels nationwide. The company offers more than 125 products, including Big Cinnamon Rolls, Down Home Cookies, Donut Holes in a Cup and Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes.

Collegedale, Tenn.-based McKee Foods Corp. was founded in the 1920s by O.D. McKee, who began selling 5-cent snack cakes from the back of his car. Today, the family-owned company employs more than 6,200 people in Collegedale; Gentry, Ark.; Stuarts Draft, Va.; and Kingman, Ariz. With annual sales of about $1.4 billion, the company’s products include Little Debbie snack cakes, Drake’s cakes, Sunbelt Bakery snacks and cereals and Fieldstone Bakery food products.

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