Coca-Cola UNITED Appoints Ernie Merritt as Central Region Vice President


Contact: Cassandra Mickens, Coca-Cola UNITED
(205) 612-6779


For Immediate Release
Coca-Cola UNITED Appoints Ernie Merritt as Central Region Vice President

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 3, 2024) – Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (UNITED) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Ernie Merritt as its next Central Region Vice President effective Jan. 1, 2024. Merritt succeeds Bo Taylor, who became the company’s Senior Vice President of Operational Transformation also effective Jan. 1.

Ernie Merritt

Based in Birmingham, Alabama, the headquarters for Coca-Cola UNITED’s Central Region, Merritt assumes executive responsibility for sales, marketing and distribution for the company’s footprint in Alabama and parts of Tennessee, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. In addition, Merritt will lead more than 4,000 associates in 22 sales centers spanning the region.

Merritt previously served as Coca-Cola UNITED’s Southern Pine Division Director, based in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was responsible for five sales centers in Alabama and West Georgia with nearly 700 associates. Ernie joined Coca-Cola UNITED in 2014 as Key Account Director for the Central Region, leading the company’s regional and local customer management process, and national retail sales key account development teams.

“Ernie has embedded himself in the communities he operates in and has developed long-lasting relationships with our key partners,” said Mike Suco, Coca-Cola UNITED President and CEO. “His proven leadership, his passion for people and his broad understanding of all aspects of our business will be the foundation of his success as he leads our Central Region.”

Merritt joined the Coca-Cola System in 1991, serving in various on-premise roles across four states. He later joined Coca-Cola Enterprises in 2003 with a focus on sales and revenue growth management for the company’s Southeast and East Region business units in the U.S., and was promoted to Vice President of Food Service for the Eastern U.S. Merritt’s career continued at Coca-Cola Refreshments as Sales Director for its Alabama Market Unit before joining Coca-Cola UNITED during its refranchising period.

“I am humbled and honored to assume the role of Central Region Vice President,” Merritt said. “It’s been an incredible journey with Coca-Cola, and I’m excited to begin this next chapter serving our communities and working alongside our fantastic group of talented associates who are the best in the business.”

Merritt is a graduate of Columbus State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He currently serves on the boards of Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama, the Camellia Bowl Executive Committee and the Alabama Beverage Association.

–  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 more than 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®, vitaminwater®, Dasani®, POWERADE®, BODYARMOR®, Fairlife®, Gold Peak®, Monster® and Minute Maid®) non-alcoholic brands under exclusive franchise agreements principally with The Coca-Cola Company®, Keurig Dr Pepper® and Monster Energy Company®.

For more than 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. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).