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Deb Conklin

KeHe names new president and CEO, Deb Conklin

And current CEO Brandon Barnholt makes the move to executive chairman

KeHe Distributors has named Deb Conklin president and CEO, as current CEO Brandon Barnholt downshifts into a different role. 

As part of an ongoing succession process, Barnholt will move into the executive chairman role. Barnholt, who turns 65 in April, has been KeHe’s president and CEO for fifteen years.

During his tenure, KeHe expanded from a Midwest Specialty Distributor to the largest pure-play 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, who has served as a board member for KeHe’s employee-owned enterprise, was also concurrently  president and CEO of the Reddy Ice company, a manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the United States with over 80,000 retail customers.
Conklin has a history of driving operational improvement, customer service and building important trade relationships, according to KeHe. She is a Clemson University graduate and earned her MBA from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She will assume the role on April 1.
“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 in a statement.

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