News Room

GMA Recognizes Greg Wasson of Walgreens, George Deese of Flowers Food with Hall of Achievement Award

GMA Press Contact

Roger Lowe

office: 202-295-3954

(COLORADO SPRINGS, CO) The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has presented its Hall of Achievement Award to Greg Wasson, retired Walgreens president and CEO, and George Deese, Chairman of the Board of Flowers Foods.

The Hall of Achievement Award, GMA’s highest honor, recognizes the extraordinary service and contributions of the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry’s most distinguished leaders.  Wasson and Deese received their awards this weekend during the GMA Leadership Forum at The Broadmoor.

“GMA is proud to recognize these two extraordinary business leaders in the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA.  “Their leadership, impact on the industry and record of success and service is an inspiration to us all.”

Deese, who received his award Saturday before 400 attendees of the GMA Leadership Forum, was recognized for growing Flowers Foods into the second-largest baking company in the United States through organic growth, market expansion, and strategic acquisitions and for his leadership role in the development of the Grain Foods Foundation.

Deese joined Flowers in 1964 as a route salesman and was successively promoted to higher levels of responsibility. He was elected president and CEO in 2004, chairman of the board in 2006 and non-executive chairman in 2014. A GMA member since 2002, Deese served on the GMA board and on its executive and finance committees. He also has served on the boards of the American Bakers Association, Quality Bakers of America, and Southern Bakers Association. Currently, he serves on the Mayo Clinic Florida Leadership Council.

Wasson was recognized Sunday for leading Walgreens through a major rebranding campaign, acquisitions, new product offerings and a strategic partnership and merger with Alliance Boots.

Wasson’s tenure at Walgreens began in 1980 as a pharmacy intern while enrolled at Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy. He rose through the ranks, managing pharmacies, leading operations and serving as President and Chief Operating Officer before being named CEO in 2009. As CEO, Wasson led Walgreens through a rebranding campaign that revamped the look and feel of its stores as well as enhancing and expanding services. In 2010, Wasson spearheaded the acquisition of New York-based pharmacy chain Duane Reade, and two years later, put into motion the company’s strategic partnership with Alliance Boots, leading to the full merger of the companies on Dec. 31, 2014.

Wasson serves on the board of directors of Verizon Communications Inc., Museum of Science and Industry, World Business Chicago and as a member of The Business Council. Previously, Wasson served on the boards of Alliance Boots, AmerisourceBergen, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Consumer Goods Forum.

The Hall of Achievement Award is now in its 31st year. Recent recipients include Michael T. Duke, former president and CEO of Walmart; Timothy Smucker, chairman of the board, The J. M. Smucker Company; and Daniel Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets.


Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe. 

 Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day.  The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders. 

 In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.  The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.