KeHE Announces New President and CEO Deb Conklin

As part of an ongoing succession process, KeHE announces Deb Conklin to become KeHE’s President and CEO effective April 1st, 2023. Brandon Barnholt will move into the Executive Chairman role. Mr. Barnholt, who turns 65 in April, has been KeHE’s President and CEO for 15 years, leading the company through times of extraordinary growth. 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. 

Deb Conklin has served as a board member for KeHE’s employee-owned enterprise. Concurrently, she has been the President and CEO of the Reddy Ice company, the largest manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the United States with over 80,000 retail customers. Known for her visionary approach, Ms. Conklin has a history of driving operational improvement, customer service, and building important trade relationships. 

“Deb is a perfect culture fit and is uniquely qualified with a solid combination of strong distribution and commercial experience in the food retail sector. She is a seasoned, talented executive with deep experience in the capital markets and a keen strategic mind. Beyond that, she is enthusiastic, humble, and focused leader with a bias for action”, said Brandon Barnholt.