Entries by Maria Saporta

Delta’s Ed Bastian wants Amazon to pick Atlanta

If Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian had his way, Amazon would pick Atlanta for its second headquarters.

“I am an Atlantan,” Bastian said on Wednesday morning. “I would love to see Amazon come here.”

Bastian was at the Delta Flight Museum addressing a gathering of 70 journalists from 18 countries who were in town for the unveiling of the A-350 aircraft.

As Keith Parker exits MARTA and Nat Ford leads APTA, transit holds key to Atlanta’s and nation’s future

By Maria Saporta At 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Keith Parker’s tenure as MARTA’s general manager and CEO ended as he started his new role as the CEO of Goodwill Industries of North Georgia. The timing was significant. During his last week at MARTA, Atlanta hosted the annual meeting and Expo of the American Public Transportation […]

Morehouse College names Harvard’s David Thomas as its 12th president

When David A. Thomas was 10 years old, his ambition was to attend Morehouse College.

On Sunday, the board of trustees of Atlanta-based Morehouse College named Thomas the 12th president of the prestigious historically-black institution.

Thomas comes with a 30-year academic background working for Ivy League institutions. He currently is the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, a position he’s held since January.

Oglethorpe University launching business school with $50 million gift

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 29, 2017

Oglethorpe University will receive a $50 million gift from alumnus Bill Hammack to establish a business school.

The gift is 10 times larger than the biggest gift the university has ever received – $5 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. It also is 20 times larger than the biggest individual gift the university ever received – $2.5 million from Ann and Tom Cousins, a donation made in 2017.

The new business school, which will open in the fall of 2019 within the liberal arts college, will be called the Q. William Hammack Jr. School of Business. It will be housed in the new Center for Science and Innovation, which also will open in the fall of 2019. Hammack already had signed on to give the new Center $2 million.

MARTA Chair Robbie Ashe: Search for MARTA CEO will be ‘a fair fight’

As the American Public Transportation Association is holding its Expo in Atlanta this week, there is much chatter among professionals about who might become the next CEO of MARTA.

But Robbie Ashe, chairman of the MARTA board, did dispel one rumor – that a possible candidate could be Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, whose two terms as mayor will end in January.

Group seeking to find – and restore – the Flint River near the airport

Atlanta’s largest mass of concrete – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – sits on top of the headwaters of the Flint River.

In looking over the acres and acres of concrete, it’s hard to envision streams and rivers that used to run through what once were working-class neighborhoods with 1950s-style homes lined with mature trees.

But Hannah Palmer and Ryan Gravel have done just that.

Longtime Atlanta business leader John Rice to retire as GE’s vice chairman

GE’s new CEO John Flannery has announced that three top executives will be leaving the company, including longtime Atlantan John Rice, who has served as a vice chairman in charge of the company’s international business efforts.

Rice, who has been with GE for 39 years, decided to retire from the company at the end of the year. He was a leading member of the management team of GE’s former CEO Jeff Immelt, who stepped down on Aug. 1.

Title of Kasim Reed’s talk to NACD inaccurately stated Atlanta was in bankruptcy when he became mayor

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is having Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed speak at its 2017 Summit in National Harbor, MD. on Tuesday morning.

As late as Monday afternoon, the agenda titled Reed’s talk as follows:

“Spark Talk: Taking a City from Bankruptcy to Booming Hub”

Court of Appeals rules that Clark Atlanta owns 13 acres the City bought from Morris Brown

The City of Atlanta’s Invest Atlanta has lost another legal ruling over its ownership rights of about 13 acres it thought it had acquired from Morris Brown College in June 2014.

The problem, then as now, was that Clark Atlanta University argued that it actually held the reversionary rights to that property.

Business leaders go all out to help win Amazon’s HQ2 

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 22, 2017

Metro Atlanta leaders, working in concert with state of Georgia, are pulling out all stops to lure Amazon’s HQ2 to the region.

The prospect of winning Amazon’s second headquarters with the potential of 50,000 new jobs has captured the attention of all the major players in the state and the region.

“Amazon is the Olympic moment for economic development in metro Atlanta,” one business leader said of the possibility. Another called it the equivalent of a “corporate Super Bowl.”

Why Delta’s Richard Anderson went from planes to trains

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 15, 2017

Make no mistake about it. Richard Anderson is now a railroad guy.

Anderson, the former CEO of Delta Air Lines Inc., became co-CEO of Amtrak — the nation’s passenger railroad system — in July. His co-CEO is Wick Moorman, who served as both CEO of Norfolk Southern Railroad and as Amtrak’s past CEO.

“I don’t work in the airline industry anymore,” Anderson was quick to say in a brief interview on Sept. 9 when he was in Atlanta to be honored at a gala of the American Cancer Society. “I work for Amtrak.”

Column: GeorgiaForward forum back ‘to talk about the future’

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 15, 2017

After a four-year absence, the GeorgiaForward statewide forum is back.

Georgia Forward is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization aimed at improving the state by engaging business, political, academic and civic leaders to collaboratively shape a statewide policy agenda.

This year, the theme will be “Defining Georgia’s Prosperity.”

“We will explore how you can grow economic prosperity for all of Georgia, including rural Georgia,” said A.J. Robinson, chair of GeorgiaForward’s board. “We like to talk about the future.”

Ceasar Mitchell: City Hall corruption scandal is ‘distressing; and ‘serious’

By Maria Saporta Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell Wednesday afternoon issued a sharply-worded statement on the corruption case at City Hall in light of Tuesday’s indictment of Adam Smith, the city’s former chief procurement officer. Mitchell, who is running for mayor, has been spotlighting this issue of city contracts for the past several weeks, […]

Column: Families First names Terry Tucker its new CEO

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 8, 2017

Families First, one of the oldest human service organizations in the state, has named Terry Tucker as its next CEO.

Tucker, who has a background in technology, entrepreneurship and nonprofits, has been serving as the chief strategy officer and general counsel for City of Refuge, a nonprofit that has been working to improve lives on Atlanta’s Westside.

In an interview on Sept. 5, Tucker said he was drawn to Families First for two reasons: its efforts improve the lives of children and families, and its commitment to providing data-driven programs to measure its impact on people’s lives.

MARTA – a jewel in metro Atlanta’s economic development future

All of a sudden, nearly everybody wants MARTA.

Metro Atlanta and Georgia have always been obsessed with economic development – attracting new companies to town or getting existing companies to expand.

So when Amazon says it wants to locate its second headquarters in a place with transit, it is sending a message loud and clear to our state and local officials that metro Atlanta needs to expand its regional transit system.

‘MAYNARD’ documentary trailer brings friends, family together

A trailer of the “MAYNARD” movie was unveiled Saturday in the visitor’s center of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

The documentary depicts the life of Atlanta’s first African-American mayor – Maynard Jackson Jr. – a leader who was larger than life in Atlanta and the nation.

The movie is undergoing final edits, according to filmmakers Maynard Jackson III and his  wife, Wendy Eley Jackson of Auburn Avenue Films.

Keith Parker leaving MARTA better than he found it

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 8, 2017

The impending departure of MARTA General Manager and CEO Keith Parker the transit agency announced Sept. 5 comes at a pivotal time in the system’s history.

After 25 years in the transit industry — including five years at MARTA — Parker will be leaving this fall to become president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia.

Huffington Post brings its ‘Listen to America’ tour to Atlanta

The Huffington Post brought its “Listen to America” tour to Atlanta Friday – anchoring its bus and recording studios at Ponce City Market.

The tour is taking “HuffPost” to 25 cities across the country – especially communities that are “undercovered” by the online publication that was founded by Arianna Huffington.

“We are doing this tour so we can find stories that are not often told,” said Marc Janks, HuffPost’s director of multimedia. “We just want to listen to people in those cities across America.”