Articles by Maria Saporta


New Coca-Cola CEO faces fast-changing world

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on April 28, 2017

As James Quincey becomes CEO of The Coca-Cola Co. on May 1, he faces a multitude of challenges — an embattled signature brand, stagnant growth of its market cap, consumers who want healthier beverages, and even the possibility that the company could be acquired by another global enterprise such as Belgium’s Anheuser Busch InBev NV.

Atlantans visiting Detroit discover a city rising from the ashes in unpredictable ways

DETROIT – Despite all the turmoil experienced by the biggest city in Michigan in recent years, a fierce pride of place shines through among members of the community.

Yes Detroit recently went through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Yes, one of its recent mayors – Kwame Kilpatrick – resides in federal prison after being convicted on 24 federal felony counts, including fraud and racketeering. And yes, the City of Detroit has be losing jobs and population for 60 years.

PBS CEO Paula Kerger says federal funding for public broadcasting is critical

The continuation of federal funding for public broadcasting is a matter of survival for several stations across the nation, according to Paula Kerger, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service.

Kerger was the keynote speaker at the Rotary Club of Atlanta Monday, and she gave a special shout out to the two major public broadcasting entities in Georgia – Georgia Public Broadcasting and Public Broadcasting Atlanta.

New Atlanta City Studio opens in Cascade Heights – seeks public engagement

The new Atlanta City Studio location opened Saturday morning in the heart of Cascade Heights – welcoming community residents, engaged citizens and several people running for public office.

The studio – which invites people to weigh in on how Atlanta should grow – is now in its second home. It had been based in northeast Atlanta at the Ponce City Market.

Metro Atlanta Chamber is shifting its future chairs because AT&T’s Glenn Lurie is moving to Dallas

Upon hearing that AT&T is moving some of its executives out of Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber has had to shuffle its plans for future leadership.

Glenn Lurie, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations, was in line to become chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber in 2018. But the chair-elect informed the chamber that he is moving to AT&T’s headquarters in Dallas as part of a decision to move about 300 key AT&T leadership personnel out of Atlanta.

Grant Park Gateway Project – a $48 million garage under a park – creates unity in area

The City of Atlanta Tuesday unveiled the plans for the Grant Park Gateway Project – a new parking garage that will be located on the footprint of the existing eight acre parking lot next to Zoo Atlanta along Boulevard Avenue.

The $48 million facility is a 1,000-space parking garage that will look more than a park than a structure for cars. It will address parking demands while reducing traffic congestion and improving overall safety in the area, according to the city’s Media Advisory.

Junior League of Atlanta celebrates its 100-year anniversary by giving away $1 million

The Junior League of Atlanta celebrated its Centennial Monday by giving away three grants worth a total of $1 million to local nonprofits in Atlanta.

“Today’s event was 100 years in the making and 10 years in planning,” said Deanna Anderson, this year’s JLA president, at the luncheon Monday held at the Piedmont Driving Club. “The million dollars represents 10 years of fundraising. We have finally arrived.”

State officials knew in February of possible Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening delays

The state agency overseeing the construction of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium knew in February there were possible issues that could delay its opening.

That was when the Atlanta Falcons approached members of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), the state agency that will own the project, to inform them of potential construction delays. The possible complications stemmed in part from the one-of-a-kind retractable roof, GWCCA executive director Frank Poe said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening delayed until Aug. 26 for Falcons preseason game

The opening of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been delayed again.

The new stadium is now scheduled to open with two Atlanta Falcons preseason games – one against Arizona on Saturday, Aug. 26, and the other versus Jacksonville on Thursday, Aug. 31.

The revised schedule will have the greatest impact on previously-scheduled matches in August of the Atlanta United soccer team. It is not known when or where those two games will be played.


Southern Co. facing ‘pivotal decision’ on Plant Vogtle

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on April 7, 2017

When Southern Co. turned 100 years old in 2011, the Atlanta-based energy giant commissioned a company history entitled “Big Bets: Decisions and Leaders that Shaped Southern Co.”

The printed synopsis on the book jacket puts it this way: “Big bets are pivotal decisions leaders make when the stakes are high — decisions that forge a successful path or retrieve a lost cause at a critical crossroads. Big bets can determine a company’s destiny or reshape its future.”


Fernbank Museum’s Susan Neugent retiring after 20 years as CEO

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 31, 2017

After 20 years as president and CEO of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Susan Neugent will be retiring at the end of May.

Neugent, the longest-serving CEO among Atlanta’s major arts and cultural attractions, will be passing the baton to Jennifer Grant Warner, who has been with Fernbank for 18 years – currently serving as its executive vice president and chief programming officer.