THE COCA-COLA COMPANY
No. 2 Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention
Business Type: Consumer Products
Corporate Headquarters: Atlanta, Ga.
Number of U.S. Employees: 10,400
Annual Worldwide Revenues: $23.1 billion
The Coca-Cola Company, a company that six years ago
paid an estimated $192.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by its current and former black
employees, now is a company whose diversity initiatives
garnered it a spot on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies
for Diversity list for the fourth straight year.
Chairman and CEO
Director, Diversity and
At the time of the lawsuit, Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO “Neville
Isdell said he was embarrassed and
that’s how we all felt,” says Steve
Bucherati, director, diversity and
workplace fairness for Coca-Cola.
That Coca-Cola Company’s
diversity initiatives are to be commended is a testament to the company’s leadership, which persevered
through a period when the media,
including DiversityInc, repeatedly
revealed its negatives.
When Isdell had the opportunity two years ago to disband an
external task force created by court
order in 2000 to ensure Coca-Cola
made changes following the class-action lawsuit, he requested that the
watchdog group remain in place
through 2006. The president of the
Atlanta-based company’s North
America operations, Don Knauss,
placed diversity as one of the four
strategic planks of his business plan.
“Now, you have women and people of color attracted to opportunities to work with Coca-Cola despite
… that lawsuit, which speaks to
what we’re doing,” says Bucherati.
Coca-Cola features a high percentage of managers of color, 29
percent, compared with the Top 50
company average of 23. 8 percent
managers of color.
“If they believed we weren’t
doing the right things or saw we
hadn’t achieved certain success,
they wouldn’t be attracted to working with us,” says Bucherati.
Access to promotions is one
area where Coca-Cola has focused
its diversity initiatives. The company rule is that all candidate slates
must feature at least one person of
color and/or woman to ensure that
groups of people who are represented less in the company’s upper
echelons are given the opportunity
to advance up the company ladder.
Of people who received promotions in 2005, 51 percent were
women and 29. 8 percent were people of color, while at Top 50 companies, 36 percent of people promoted were women and 25. 8 percent were people of color.