ATLANTA: Coca-Cola took a significant step toward steadying its PR ship last week by convincing 26-year veteran Carl Ware to rescind his resignation and stay with the company as head of global public affairs and administration.
ATLANTA: Coca-Cola took a significant step toward steadying its PR
ship last week by convincing 26-year veteran Carl Ware to rescind his
resignation and stay with the company as head of global public affairs
Ware had resigned last November in the wake of a management
reorganization engineered by former chief M. Douglas Ivester. Under the
proposed hierarchy, Ware would have reported to Ivester through Douglas
Daft (who has since been named president and CEO), then head of Asian
operations. It was effectively a demotion.
In the new post, Ware will report directly to Daft and sit on the
company’s executive committee. Daft is also recommending that Coke’s
board of directors add EVP onto Ware’s title.
Ware’s promotion was widely touted as the first major step towards
repairing Coke’s tarnished PR profile. Indeed, forcing his resignation
was considered one of the worst PR miscues perpetrated by the company
during the Ivester regime.
At the time of his resignation, Ware, one of the few top Coke execs who
is black, had ascended to the post of SVP/president of Africa
operations, and was also co-chair of the company’s newly formed
This task force, chartered to maximize hiring and advancement
opportunities for minorities and women, had been formed following the
filing of a racial discrimination lawsuit by four Coke employees. The
company pointedly noted that Ware will continue to lead the diversity
In an official statement released to the press, Ware said, ’I’m
delighted by this new opportunity.’ Evincing his sensitivity to PR
issues, Ware’s statement continued, ’The importance of being a partner
in the local community is as true in Nairobi as it is in New York.’
Gary Hemphill, VP of consulting group Beverage Marketing, hailed Coke’s
decision: ’Given some of their litigation issues, it’s a solid move for
them.’ Added Ware colleague and former corporate VP of urban affairs for
Sony Pictures Entertainment Harvey Lehman Jr., ’If anybody can make some
meaningful changes at Coca-Cola, it’s Carl.’
- See comment page, p16.