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Atlanta Committee for Progress facing leadership change

gellerstedt, shan cooper, doug hertz, duriya farooqui

(Left to right) Larry Gellerstedt, Shan Cooper, Doug Hertz and Duriya Farooqui at the end of Friday's ACP meeting (Photo by Maria Saporta_

By Maria Saporta

Duriya Farooqui, executive director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, will be leaving at the end of her contract on Dec. 31.

ACP serves as a blue-ribbon cabinet of influential business and civic leaders to advise the mayor of the City of Atlanta. It was founded by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, and it has remained in place during the Kasim Reed administration and during Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tenure.

At its quarterly board meeting Friday morning, ACP announced that it has named Shan Cooper, formerly chief transformation officer of WestRock Co. and a former key executive of Lockheed Martin Corp., will succeed Farooqui in that role beginning Jan. 1. Cooper will start “shadowing” Farooqui starting Oct. 1.

gellerstedt, shan cooper, doug hertz, duriya farooqui

(Left to right) Larry Gellerstedt, Shan Cooper, Doug Hertz and Duriya Farooqui at the end of Friday’s ACP meeting (Photo by Maria Saporta_

“I’m excited,” Cooper said Friday morning after the ACP meeting. “I was hoping to find something that would allow me to give back and be life-changing. I think this opportunity allows me to do just that.”

Farooqui joined ACP in the spring of 2016 and had agreed to serve in the role of executive director through the end of 2018.

“I left Bain & Co. to take the ACP role at a pivotal time for the city,” Farooqui said. “I was charged with taking ACP through the transition to a new Mayor and ensure continuity of an extraordinary partnership for Atlanta. I hope I have deepened its impact along the way.”

Mayor Bottoms expressed appreciation for Farooqui contributions.

““Duriya has been fantastic with me for the last nine months,” Bottoms said. I’m grateful for all she’s done to help the City of Atlanta.”

Larry Gellerstedt, CEO of Cousins Properties and the 2018 chair of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, thanked Farooqui for the “body of work” she had overseen during her tenure at ACP, including Engage Ventures, providing support for the Mayor’s transition team and searches as well as efforts on building a strong workforce development initiative in the city.

“When Paul Bowers (Georgia Power) and Bill Rogers (SunTrust) brought Duriya on board, we got her to leave the private sector for a couple of years,” said Larry Gellerstedt, CEO of Cousins Properties and the 2018 chair of the Atlanta Committee for Progress. “Her ultimate goal was to return to the private sector.”

During her tenure at ACP, Farooqui “earned the respect” of board member Jeff Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange – owner of the New York Stock Exchange. So he asked her to join his board as well as the NYSE subsidiary board, because of “Duriya’s ability to collaborate and contribute.”

Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power, credited Farooqui work across ACP’s “strategic initiatives in infrastructure planning, development of the Westside, educational improvement and ensuring Atlanta’s workforce has the right skills required for sustained growth.”

ACP Bottoms Duriya Gellerstedt

ACP’s Duriya Farooqui stands with Larry Gellerstedt III and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms after ACP’s board meeting in March, 2018 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

When Mayor Bottoms was asked about Cooper, Gellerstedt chimed in and said: “Shan wouldn’t have been on the list if the mayor wasn’t a fan.”

Doug Hertz, president of United Distributors, will serve as ACP’s chair in 2019, when Cooper will begin her role.

“First, I want to thank Duriya for the unbelievable work that she’s done,” Hertz said. “And I can’t wait to work with Shan.”

Hertz and Cooper co-chaired the city’s search for a new chief procurement officer. They also worked closely together on the board of the Woodruff Arts Center. Cooper also was a finalist during the last search for a CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Another interesting note, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey attended the ACP board meeting along with Delta’s Ed Bastian and Alex Taylor, CEO of Cox Enterprises.

The college presidents of Spelman, Georgia State and Morehouse also attended the meeting.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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  1. Chris Johnston September 17, 2018 12:29 pm

    I wonder if Farooqui is under State and Federal investigation since she was Kasim Reed’s COO for over two years. Once you get in the pig pen with the pigs you find it difficult to be clean.Report

  2. David Coffman September 21, 2018 5:33 pm

    Congrats ShanReport


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