Atmore native named CFO of Coca-Cola
By By Sherry Digmon
Atmore native Gary Fayard was named senior vice president and chief financial officer of The Coca-Cola Company last week.
The announcement came out of a board meeting in Atlanta at 1 p.m. EST Wednes-day. By mid-afternoon, the news had hit CNN, MSNBC and the Internet.
In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Fayard was upbeat about the new position, saying it promises to be "a lot of fun."
After completing school at the University of Alabama, Fayard worked at Ernst &Young in Birmingham for seven years, then transferred to Atlanta. He was a partner in charge of audit of Coca-Cola.
In April 1994, he was hired by Coca-Cola as a deputy controller, a temporary title until the next board meeting in July 1994 when he was elected vice president and controller.
Much of Fayard's career with Coca-Cola has been spent commuting halfway around the world.
He expects to travel to Latin America, Europe and the Pacific a couple of times a year.
In addition, he serves on the board of directors of the bottler in South Africa, and attends meetings there twice a year.
Though his travels take him all over the world, Fayard said he is a home-body at heart.
Fayard is the son of Mrs. Sarah Fayard and the late Elam P. Fayard, and the son-in-law of Howard and Nanette Shell.
He and his wife Nancy have two sons. John attends the Atlanta College of Art. Chris attends Appalachian State.
When contacted about Fayard's new position, both Howard Shell and Sarah Fayard commented, "Gary has worked so hard."
Perhaps at least a portion of his success can be attributed to his father.
At Elam Fayard's funeral, longtime family friend Jimmy Crook told the story about the time Gary got frustrated at the University of Alabama and came home. He and his father talked about various subjects that night, nothing about school, but the next morning, the elder Fayard woke his son up at 6 a.m.
His father replied, "Work."
According to the story, Gary had worked with his father before in the summers, driving tractors and doing other fun jobs.
But when they got to this construction site, Mr. Fayard got a shovel out of the truck, looked at Gary and said, "This is a shovel and those are footings. Start digging."
Gary Fayard learned quickly the importance of doing what makes you happy, but also the value of having an education.