Coca-Cola hires Ford’s general counsel

Jul 28, 2020
Bradley Gayton has spent almost 30 years at the car company

Ford Motor Company veteran Bradley Gayton will join The Coca-Cola Company on September 1 as senior vice president and general counsel.

Gayton is moving to Coca-Cola having spent almost 30 years at Ford, where he was most recently group vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel. He has been a member of the senior management team and was responsible for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, corporate services, global shared service center operations, security and Ford Land, which manages company facilities and real estate.

Gayton will be based at Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta. He succeeds Bernhard Goepelt, who retired in February.

John Mellen, long-time associate general counsel at Ford, will become the car manufacturer’s new general counsel, effective August 1. According to the company, Gayton’s last day with Ford will be August 31 to allow for the transition.

Mellen currently manages Ford’s global litigation practice and offers counsel in areas such as safety and environmental regulatory compliance, labor and employment, occupational health and safety and insurance.

As general counsel at Ford, Gayton has led a team of more than 600 people in the company’s litigation, tax, corporate and securities, M&A, compliance, internal audit and intellectual property teams. He joined Ford in 1991 as an attorney and later held roles including director of global trade taxation and customs, assistant tax officer and director of tax operations, assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary, and assistant general counsel and corporate secretary.

‘I am looking forward to the new challenges and growth that await me in this new role,’ Gayton says in a statement. ‘I have long admired Coca-Cola for its heritage, relevance and vision and am eager to bring my experience and perspective to an unmatched leadership team and storied brand.’

Coca-Cola chair and CEO James Quincey says in an announcement: ‘Bradley brings a remarkable breadth of experience and business knowledge. He’s had an outstanding career at Ford, and his global perspective will be very valuable as a new member of the executive leadership team at Coca-Cola.’

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