Gayton’s exit comes after the company deals with a storm over its criticism of changes to Georgian electoral law and Coke faces a multi-billion dollar tax battle with the Internal Revenue Service.
Coke’s stance on the election changes made it a target of criticism from Republican leaders and former President Donald Trump. Before Quincey criticized the new law as “unacceptable”, Coke had made calls for a consumer boycott from critics who said it should have done more to stop legislation, which they described as restricted access to voting.
The tax matter centers on where and how the company distributes profits between the United States and some countries with lower taxes. The IRS claims that Coke owes approximately $ 3.3 billion for underpayment of taxes for the years 2007-2009. However, the company, which expects it will crack down on unconstitutional measures, could have a tax bill of $ 12 billion if the IRS applies its methodology by 2020.
Gayton joined Coke in September after nearly three decades at Ford Motor Company, where he was General Counsel and a member of the senior management team.
In January, he targeted law firms in Georgia and the nation when he announced that Cola would require variety among law firms that bill it for work in the United States. The policy included reduced payments to companies that did not comply.
“Quite simply, we’re no longer interested in discussing motivations, programs, or excuses for little to no progress – it’s the results that we ask for and that we will measure in the future,” Gayton wrote to companies that work with Coke Make transactions.
Announcing Gayton’s resignation, the company wrote in a press release that he had led the Coke legal organization “through an important transition period” and “initiatives for innovation, diversity and inclusion, including advancing public service through the law”.
In a press release, Quincey thanked Gayton for his service and said he had “proven himself to be a strategic and results-oriented leader”.
Gayton was quoted as saying, “It has been a privilege to do such important work with my great legal colleagues and to be part of Coca-Cola’s dynamic leadership team.”