Contact: Linda Sewell, Coca-Cola UNITED
For Immediate Release
Coca-Cola UNITED President and CEO John Sherman Retires
Becomes Vice Chairman of Company’s Board of Directors
Birmingham, Ala. (July 28, 2022) – John Sherman, president and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (UNITED) since 2016, will retire on July 31 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.
Under Sherman’s leadership, Coca-Cola UNITED completed a multi-year expansion that more than tripled the size of the company. 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.
“John’s leadership and impact on Coca-Cola UNITED for more than three decades cannot be overstated. 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,” said Claude Nielsen, chairman of Coca-Cola UNITED’s board of directors. “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.”
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.
In 2013, as the company embarked upon a major territory expansion, Sherman was named Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for leading the reorganization of Coca-Cola UNITED’s legacy operating units and overseeing the transition and integration of current and new franchise operations throughout a six-state footprint. That expansion more than tripled the size of the company in terms of revenues, employees, customers, and facilities. In April 2016, John was named President and CEO.
John has served on numerous business and industry boards, such as The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association, The Dr Pepper Bottlers’ Association, the American Beverage Association, and the Alabama Soft Drink Association (now Alabama Beverage Association). He also serves on the board of advisors of the Brock School of Business at Samford University, the Scheller College of Business Advisory Board at Georgia Tech, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama’s Board of Directors. In the community, he is on the board of directors of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Birmingham Business Alliance and Prosper Birmingham.
Over the years, John has received many recognitions and awards, including the Alabama Beverage Association’s Distinguished Service Award – the highest honor bestowed by the state’s soft drink industry. In 2018, John received the “Top CEO” award from the Birmingham Business Journal and was also named an “Executive of Influence” by that same publication. Under John’s leadership, Coca-Cola UNITED has won top company honors, including but not limited to the inaugural and prestigious Market Street Challenge award in 2016 from The Coca-Cola Company, recognizing top executional excellence among all U.S. bottlers; Beverage Industry Magazine’s Bottler of the Year Award in 2021; and The Coca-Cola Company’s President’s Award for Quality for Coca-Cola UNITED’s Harahan, Louisiana plant.
John and his wife of 43 years, Terry, have three grown sons, Jack, Bobby and Keith, and delight in their seven grandchildren. They will continue to live in the Birmingham area.
– Stand UNITED –
About Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., founded in 1902 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is the second largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S. Now with its fifth generation of family working in the business, Coca-Cola UNITED has approximately 10,000 associates located in more than 50 facilities across six southeastern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee). Historically significant franchises within our Coca-Cola UNITED family include Chattanooga, the world’s first Coca-Cola bottler; Atlanta, home of the worldwide Coca-Cola System; and Columbus, Georgia, development site of the original Coca-Cola formula.
Coca-Cola UNITED is engaged in the production, marketing and distribution of a diverse portfolio of leading sparkling (Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero Sugar®, Dr Pepper®, Sprite®, AHA® and Fanta®) and still (smartwater®, Dasani®, POWERADE®, BODYARMOR®, Fairlife®, Gold Peak®, Monster® and Minute Maid®) non-alcoholic brands under exclusive franchise agreements principally with The Coca-Cola Company® and Keurig Dr Pepper®.
For 120 years, Coca-Cola UNITED has remained true to its foundational core values of Quality, Excellence, Integrity and Respect. Local relationships, personalized customer service and strong community engagement have been the foundation of our business for more than a century. Each year, millions of dollars are invested in our local communities, supporting education, community development, sustainability and nonprofit organizations that empower and impact those in need. For more information, visit cocacolaunited.com.