| Carl Ware is an American success story. Born in 1943 to humble Georgia sharecroppers, he faced hardship while growing up black in the Jim Crow South. His father made history as the first black man to vote in Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since Reconstruction. |
Ware worked his way through college, taking part in the Atlanta Student Movement. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he rose to become one of the most influential business leaders and philanthropists of his gener- ation. Ware was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1973 and later served as its first black president from 1976 to 1979.
In 1979 he was named vice president of Special Markets for Coca-Cola USA. He founded the Coca-Cola Foundation and became known as the company’s “Daring Diplomat.” As the highest-ranking African American executive at the Coca-Cola Company, Ware would become the architect of his employer’s South Africa disinvestment and the first American businessman to meet with Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990. During this time, Ware proved instrumental in the fall of South Africa’s brutal system of apartheid. In 1991 he was appointed deputy group president of Coca-Cola’s Northeast Europe Africa group. In 1993 he became the company’s first black group president, heading the Africa operations.
Retiring from Coca-Cola in 2003 as head of global public affairs and administration, Ware served on the boards of Georgia Power, National Life of Vermont, Cummins, Chevron, and PGA Tour Golf Course Properties, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and as chairman of the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Now, for the first time, Ware shares his incredible and inspiring story and how he rewrote the rules for power sharing in America.
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