STEPHEN R. AVERA
Executive vice president, secretary and general counsel, Flowers
Foods Inc. Age:43
Based in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods Inc. is
one of the nation’s largest wholesale bakers. It has
been a leader in the baking industry since 1919,
originally churning out 30,000 loaves per day. Today, it
oversees more than 30 individual subsidiary bakeries,
and produces and markets its bakery foods through
operating divisions Flowers Bakeries and Flowers
As is typical for a general counsel, Avera is called
upon to know a little about a lot of things, and being
the head of a relatively small department, his responsibilities are many and varied. Although he has a
criminal trial background and has previously focused
on labor and employment law, he now sees himself
as a generalist.
He serves as Flowers’ corporate secretary, with
all of the attendant duties. He oversees the firm’s
mergers and acquisitions program, and supervises
its government affairs activities. His team provides
legal services to Flowers’ string of bakeries, as do
outside law firms.
On occasion, Avera meets with officials from the
Food and Drug Administration. However, for the most
part, he is not required to interact with government
agencies. Since the firm does not feature meat or
dairy products, he does not have to work closely with
U.S. Department of Agriculture regulators.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is a focus of Avera
and his group, although not as intensely as when it
first took effect. The team has become more comfortable coping with it, but he views the legislation
as flawed. It was passed in a hurry, but is not going
away, he said. Avera expects refinements in the legislation, but does not foresee any political impetus
to change it dramatically.
Avera believes that he is paid for his judgment
FLOWERS FOODS INC.
Jones Day; Troutman Sanders
LABOR & EMPLOYMENT
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart