The Coca-Cola Company announced that Bradley Gayton has been elected senior vice president and general counsel. He will join the company Sept. 1.
Gayton comes to Coca-Cola after nearly 30 years at Ford Motor Company, where he most recently served as group vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel. He was named to that position in 2016 and leaves a legacy at Ford that includes a culture of innovation and a strong commitment to pro bono work.
At Ford, Gayton served as 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.
As general counsel, he managed a team of more than 600 people who led the company’s litigation, tax, corporate and securities, mergers and acquisitions, compliance, internal audit and intellectual property teams. He also provided business and legal counsel to the board of directors, the executive chairman, CEO and the senior management team.
“I am looking forward to the new challenges and growth that await me in this new role,” Gayton said. “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.”
“Bradley brings a remarkable breadth of experience and business knowledge,” said James Quincey, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola. “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.”
Gayton joined Ford in 1991 as an attorney. He went on to hold a series of roles of greater responsibility, including director, global trade taxation and customs; assistant tax officer and director of tax operations; assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary; assistant general counsel and corporate secretary; and group vice president, general counsel.
Gayton was the recipient of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s 2018 Exemplar Award for his outstanding commitment to advancing equal justice for low-income citizens through his pro bono work. As a father of three daughters, Gayton is passionate about issues facing women and girls and has focused much of these efforts on helping victims of domestic abuse and other crimes through U-Visa. He was also named a 2020 Diversity in Tech and IP award recipient from the National Bar Association.
Gayton, 57, is a native of Syracuse, N.Y. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a law degree, both from the University at Buffalo.
Gayton will be based at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. He replaces Bernhard Goepelt, who retired in February.