John Sherman is president and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc., the second largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Under John’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 60 facilities throughout the southeast in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, and employs approximately 10,000 associates. John has been with the Coca-Cola system for more than four decades and plans to retire in 2022.
In 1979, while still enrolled at Georgia Tech, John began his Coca-Cola career 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. He advanced to positions of department manager, cold drink manager, home market sales manager and sales center manager for the Atlanta market. In 1987, John was promoted to region manager, responsible for the Alabama and South Georgia bottling franchises of CCE.
In 1990, Sherman joined Birmingham, Alabama-based Coca-Cola UNITED as director of marketing for the East Region, based in Augusta, Georgia. In 1993, he moved to Birmingham as Central Region president, responsible for the Birmingham and Chattanooga, Tennessee market territories. In 1999, Georgia and South Carolina were added to his responsibility and he was named a corporate vice president and president of the then newly formed East Region, which included Birmingham, Carbon Hill, and Cullman in Alabama; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Augusta, Brunswick, McRae, Milledgeville, Savannah, Statesboro, and Waycross in Georgia.
In 2013, as the company embarked upon a major territory expansion, John 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 all new franchise operations, current and future. In this role, he was also responsible for Commercial Leadership, Operational Marketing and Customer and Revenue Management. In April 2016, John was named president and CEO.
John currently serves on the board for several industry organizations, including The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association, The Dr Pepper Bottlers’ Association and the American Beverage Association. He has also served as president of 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, as well as on the Scheller College of Business Advisory Board at Georgia Tech. He also serves on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama’s Board of Directors. In the community, he serves 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’s hobbies include golf and hunting, and he is a member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. John and his wife of 43 years, Terry, have three grown sons, Jack, Bobby and Keith, and delight in their seven grandchildren.