KeHE Names Incoming President & CEO

Deb Conklin will join the grocery distributor in the new role on April 1.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Deb Conklin KeHE
Deb Conklin

KeHE Distributors, a distributor of natural & organic, specialty and fresh groceries, including private label products, has announced its next president and CEO.

Deb Conklin will become KeHE’s President & CEO on April 1, 2023, and Brandon Barnholt will move into the executive chairman role. Conklin is joining KeHE from Reddy Ice, the largest ice manufacturer and distributor in the U.S., where she serves as president and CEO. Conklin is a Clemson University graduate and earned her MBA from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.

“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,” said Coklin. “The strength of KeHE’s customer portfolio and diverse supplier universe is very exciting for the future. KeHE is an important distribution and supply chain partner throughout the retail food sector, and I look forward to helping all parties grow and succeed.”

Barnholt has served as president and CEO of KeHE for 15 years, overseeing the company’s expansion from a Midwest specialty distributor to one of the nation’s largest grocery distributors with a 16-center network.

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

KeHE supplies grocery products to more than 30,000 natural food stores and independent grocers across the U.S.