“…Public spirited, Impeccably honest, hands-on, innovative, and “bottom-line oriented…”
Maynard Jackson, Three-term Mayor of Atlanta


John Reid retired from The Coca-Cola Company in 2014. He enjoyed his 70th birthday in 2020. His story is filled with family and friends, global travels, and service in the corporate, non-profit and government world. He teaches his grandchildren about gratitude by asking them always: “What’s the proper attitude?” The answer: GRATITUDE. 

He grew up in Boston, and remained there through graduation from Brandeis and MIT, where he earned a Masters in 1974. His education ignited an interest in economics and systems.

He moved to Atlanta in 1974. With the exception of tours in New York and California, he has been in Atlanta most of his adult life. That’s not surprising, considering that the world headquarters of the Coca-Cola Company is here, where he served 27 years. 

His career has taken him to virtually every corner of world. With The Coca-Cola Company, he led Coca-Cola University; he was chief environmental officer; and he was vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility. He began in Coca-Cola USA, where is led marketing, fountain operations, strategic planning, and business development. 

He was past Chairman of Cross-Cultural Solutions, a global non-profit enabling volunteering abroad;  Executive Officer of the City of Atlanta; Deputy Director of Operations for The State of New York; COO of The Edison Project, the grandfather of the Charter School movement; CEO of LearnNow, and CEO of Comet Systems, one of the early internet innovators.

He is married to Karen Flanders-Reid, and has five children and four grandchildren. John is just-past Chair of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. In addition to the Board service above, his past Board service has included, The Duke University School of the Environment, The Princeton Review, The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education,  the Emory Center for Ethics, Research Atlanta, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Georgia Conservancy, and the Midtown Alliance. He and his family live in the Atlanta area.

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The story that the titles and dates simply cannot capture.

Time after time, JCR has been asked to join or lead teams whose job was to meet a challenge  and seize an opportunity. The teams did that – on time, within budget, with sustainable, innovative solutions.
John C Reid, 2014

High Growth at Coca-Cola USA

His career started with Coca-Cola. He was there during its ascendancy to the very top of the global food and beverage industry. He served 27 years there – and retired in 2014. His career began in Coca-Cola USA, where he was VP Strategic Planning, VP Fountain Operations, VP Fountain Marketing, SVP Marketing, and SVP Business Development. Coca-Cola enjoyed explosive growth over these years, successfully introducing Diet Coke and Sprite,

Called by the Mayor

He was asked by the three-term Mayor of Atlanta to lead the Mayor’s team – and he answered the call. The administration was hailed for getting the 1996 Olympics for Atlanta, for building a fifth terminal for the airport, for resolving a major dispute by building Freedom Parkway, and more generally for preparing the City for the greatness it now enjoys.

Called to help change public education

He left Coca-Cola in 1996 to answer another call – the challenge of public education. He was asked to apply his systems design, operational and team-building skills by leading “The Edison Project”. Their challenge was to literally alter the face of public education by building schools that were very different, and much improved, from the norm in public education. JCR met the challenge. Working for Benno Schmidt, the former President of Yale University, who was Chairman of Edison, he built a team that designed and implemented a national school system. 

Leading Four Start-Ups

After Edison, he took on four additional start-up challenges – a non-profit, a two technology companies, and one education company. He grew them all and each was successfully sold. And the non-profit, Cross-Cultural Solutions, is today one of the leading organizations in the world supporting international volunteering.

The Early Days of the Internet

John was CEO of Comet Systems, a Manhattan-based start-up and a leader in client-side software (apps). Comet distributed over 75 million clients while JCR was CEO, and innovated in the area of search toolbars.

Called by a Governor

JCR was asked by the Governor of the State of New York to join his office as Assistant Secretary of Education. He served as the Executive Director of The New York State Commission on Higher Education ( mission was to chart a course for New York higher education for the 21st century). Based on the success of this Commission, he was asked to serve as the Executive Director of the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief. H e completed his state service as Deputy Director of State Operations. He served two governors.

Returning to Coke in Global Leadership

After this second major period of government service, JCR returned to The Coca-Cola Company.

As Global Director of Coca-Cola University, his team managed a training university. It allowed Coca-Cola to ensure outstanding capability-building throughout the world.

As Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility.  JCR saw aggressive innovations in packages such as the “mini-can”; in sweeteners such as stevia; in labeling such as front-of-pack labeling, and in active, healthy living such as the Company’s Associate Well-Being Program.