John Sherman, president and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (UNITED) since 2016, retired today after more than 32 years with the Birmingham-based bottler and more than four decades with the Coca-Cola System. He will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors as Vice Chairman. Mike Suco, who was previously announced as Sherman’s successor, will become president and CEO on August 1.
Sherman began his career with Coca-Cola in 1979, while still enrolled at Georgia Tech, as a part-time clerk in the accounting department of Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which was then a part of Coca‑Cola Enterprises (CCE), Inc. In 1990, Sherman joined Coca-Cola UNITED as director of marketing for the East Region, based in Augusta, Georgia, and assumed several leadership positions during the next three decades, including Central Region President based in Birmingham.
Under Sherman’s leadership, Coca-Cola UNITED completed a multi-year expansion that more than tripled the size of the company.
“John’s leadership and impact on Coca-Cola UNITED for more than three decades cannot be overstated,” said Claude Nielsen, chairman of Coca-Cola UNITED’s board of directors. “The fact that we were able to triple in size, integrate thousands of associates and customers into our business, yet still maintain our strong corporate culture where associates are first, where excellent service is the basis of our customer relationships, and where family is foundational, speaks volumes about how he operates and leads.”
“John is a highly regarded and extraordinarily accomplished leader in our industry. Known for his unflagging professionalism, commitment to excellence and his passion for our associates and our customers has been instrumental in driving UNITED’s growth. His legacy will live on through the many lives he has touched and inspired along his four decades with the Coca-Cola System.”
Today, Coca-Cola UNITED has more than 50 distribution and production facilities throughout the southeast in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, and employs more than 10,000 associates. One of those distribution facilities, the South Metro Sales Center, is located in South Fulton County.
Coca-Cola UNITED celebrated the grand opening of the facility on Mason Road in February 2020. Former Mayor William “Bill” Edwards, Councilmember Helen Willis, Sen. Donzella James and Rep. Derrick Jackson were among the elected officials that attended the event. The 456,000 square foot facility serves more than 10,000 customers through the Atlanta metro area.
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