Valvoline’s President of Retail Services Promoted to CEO

by Katie Lee

Lexington, Ky. — Valvoline Inc., a leader in preventive automotive maintenance delivering quick and convenient service, has announced that Sam Mitchell is retiring as chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors, effective September 30, 2023. Mitchell will be succeeded by Lori Flees, current president of retail services, as the company’s CEO. Flees will also join Valvoline’s board.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Sam for his leadership of Valvoline for the last 21 years,” says Rich Freeland, chairman of the Valvoline board. “During this time, Sam has led the company through a period of exceptional growth and performance, which included a very successful IPO in 2016, and most recently, the restructuring and separation of Valvoline’s retail services and global products businesses. Today Valvoline is the leader in preventive automotive maintenance, and it is from this position of strength that the board has accepted Sam’s retirement decision.”

Flees has served as president of Valvoline Retail Services since April 2022. In this role, she has led the company’s operations, driving top and bottom-line growth to new record levels. Valvoline’s fast-growing retail services business operates more than 1,800 company-owned and franchised service center locations serving consumer and fleet customers. Flees will continue to oversee this business in her role as president, in addition to serving as CEO.

“Lori is a talented executive with a proven track record of delivering results,” continues Freeland. “Over the past year, Lori has become a highly respected member of the management team. Her substantial retail and leadership experience uniquely qualify her to lead Valvoline as it continues to deliver best-in-class retail automotive services. She has quickly gained intimate knowledge of the business and has galvanized the team around Valvoline’s strategic direction. Lori’s experience in strategy development, incubating innovative retail capabilities, and her deep consumer focus make her the ideal choice to oversee Valvoline’s next phase of growth as a pure-play retailer.”

Before joining Valvoline, Flees spent nearly a decade at Walmart where most recently she led all aspects of Walmart’s Health & Wellness business across more than 4,800 locations. She joined Walmart to lead corporate strategy and development, and later moved into leadership roles that included the incubation of new retail capabilities via the deployment of emerging technologies, strategic partnership development with companies such as Google and Microsoft, and the leadership of the pharmacy and optical business of Sam’s Club.

Valvoline Inc. operates and franchises more than 1,800 service center locations through its Valvoline Instant Oil ChangeSM and Valvoline Great Canadian Oil Change retail brands, and helps independent operators grow their businesses through its nearly 300 Valvoline Express Care locations in North America. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Valvoline Inc.

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