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Coca-Cola UNITED Appoints Norman H. Ross Jr. as VP of Public Affairs and Communications

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Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Birmingham. (Coca-Cola United)

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The Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (UNITED) Board of Directors has appointed Norman H. Ross Jr. as its next Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications, effective April 29.

Norman H. Ross Jr.

Ross brings more than 25 years of experience in public affairs, corporate communications and government relations. He succeeds Linda Sewell, who will retire at the end of May after more than 40 years working for some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz.

Sewell joined Coca-Cola UNITED in 2016 as the company more than tripled in size and scope, and over those years she built one of the strongest public affairs and communications teams in the Coca-Cola North American bottling system.

“Selecting Linda’s replacement was not an easy task, as she was responsible for building our Public Affairs and Communications team from the ground up,” said President and CEO Mike Suco. “The board and I are delighted that Norman has agreed to return to the Coca-Cola family to help us continue the momentum and grow our relationships with the communities we serve.”

In his new role, Ross is responsible for the strategic direction of Coca-Cola UNITED’s public affairs, government relations, external and internal communications, community engagement and charitable giving. He has contributed more than 20 years of service to the Coca-Cola System, working for two bottlers and The Coca-Cola Company.

He began his career as an intern at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) in 1994 while pursuing his undergraduate education at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He went on to spend 11 years at the CCE, ultimately becoming Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for the company’s Atlanta and Alabama markets and later the South and North Florida Markets.

Ross then joined The Coca-Cola Company’s Washington, D.C. office as Director of Government Relations, serving on the Federal Government Relations team and managing transportation, labor and other bottler related issues for the company and more than 70 Coca-Cola bottlers in North America. He has also served as Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which serves Kansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Most recently, Ross served as Vice President of Government Affairs for PIM Brands, Inc., the world’s largest maker of Real Fruit Snacks and one of the largest makers of chocolate and non-chocolate confections and sweets. He also previously served as Vice President of Federal Government Relations for MGM Resorts International, whose portfolio includes the world-famous Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage.

In addition to earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse College, Ross also holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia. His past civic involvement includes roles with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Corporate Advisory Council and the Negro League Baseball Museum Board of Directors.

“I’m honored and humbled to join the talented team at Coca-Cola UNITED to build on the excellent work they have done to position UNITED as an elite bottler,” Ross said. “I look forward to helping shape the story of our organization’s impact and forging lasting relationships with the communities we serve.”

Ross and his family will reside in the Birmingham area.

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.