Southwest Georgia Oil Co. Announces New President and COO

CFO Glennie Cox Bench takes the reins as president and COO of SWGO.

“Change” is a familiar concept to everyone who works at Southwest Georgia Oil Co. Inc. (SWGO). The regional petroleum distributor and convenience store chain, based in Bainbridge, Ga., moves at a fast pace, changing all the while.

This week, Mike Harrell, CEO and president of SWGO, announced that chief financial officer (CFO) Glennie Cox Bench will become president and chief operating officer (COO) of the company, effective immediately.

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Harrell will continue to serve as CEO, but in passing the reins of president and COO to Bench, said, “Glennie Bench is a natural leader. She has the broadest range of skill and talent of any person I’ve ever been around. She is ferociously loyal to her family, this community, and Southwest Georgia Oil Co. This company has enormous potential and is on the cusp of a major breakout. The only way to tap this potential and launch this breakout is to be focused and be willing to do the hard work. Glennie IS and WILL and I firmly believe that she is the right person to lead Southwest Georgia Oil Co. into the future,” of the decision.

“What an honor this is,” Bench said. “I am mindful of the fact that only two people have served as president of SWGO – Mike and his father, SWGO founder, Jimmy Harrell. So I am grateful for the confidence Mike has shown in me. I am eager to roll up my sleeves with the new responsibilities that come with the roles and lead the company into the next decade stronger and well positioned to serve our customers better than ever before.”

“This year, we will tip the scales at 78 stores, six dealer sites, a 150 million gallon wholesale operation, and 1,100 employees in three states,” continued Bench. “That size is a relatively new challenge for us but we have a management team that is up to the task of offering the best in service and setting the standard for our industry. I’m so proud to work with this team to accomplish these goals together.”

Bench began working with Southwest Georgia Oil Co. in 1991 and became CFO and vice-president of finance in 1999. She is a licensed CPA, is serving her third term as a member of the Bainbridge, Georgia City Council and is Chairperson of the Hospital Authority for Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge. She is married to football coach Steve Bench and they have one son, Steven, who is a mortgage broker in Tampa, Fla.

“Initially, we will be focused on maximizing the profitability of our existing operations, rolling out our new designs for the SunStop and Inland brands, and ensuring critical spots in our organization chart are filled with talented, energized people – all of which will allow us to better serve our customers,” Bench commented of the focus for 2018. “We will keep it simple – we will earn our customers’ business every day with service that makes you smile, food you’ll crave every day, and value you’ll come back for.”