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Former Gov. Roy Barnes joins historic Atlanta Life’s board

By Maria Saporta

One of Atlanta’s premier African-American-owned companies — Atlanta Life Financial Group — has named former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes to its board.

Barnes, who is joining his first corporate board since he left office in 2003, will be the only non-black board member of the diversified financial services company. At the time this article was posted, I could not determine whether Barnes was the first white person to serve on Atlanta Life’s board.

This just in: I was able to confirm that Gov. Barnes is the first (and only) white person to serve on Atlanta Life’s board.

“We are pleased and energized to have Governor Barnes join our board,” said Egbert Perry, chair of Atlanta Life’s board who is also CEO of the Integral Group real estate development company, in the official release. “He will be an excellent addition as we expand our financial services platform.”

Barnes’ statement reflected that he understood the significance of being asked to join Atlanta Life’s board.

Roy Barnes

“I’m delighted to have been asked to join the board of this historic institution.” Barnes said. “I have a great deal of respect for the members of the board, their vision for the company, and the company’s 106-year history of serving the underserved financial services community, as well as institutional and municipal clients across the country. I am looking forward to helping to build on that legacy into the 21st century.”

Atlanta Life, which was founded by Alonzo Herndon in 1905 as a life insurance company, now includes Herndon Capital Management – an institutional asset management firm; Jackson Securities (“JS”) – an investment banking and brokerage firm; and Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

In addition to Perry and Barnes, the other members of Atlanta Life’s board are: Roosevelt Giles, president and CEO of Endpoint Consulting Group; M. Alexis Scott, publisher and CEO of Atlanta Daily World; William J. Stanley, III, founder and CEO of Stanley, Love –Stanley and William Taggart, Atlanta Life’s president and CEO.

Barnes will join the other legendary figures who have been affiliated with Atlanta Life and its related companies over the years — the late Alonzo Herndon, retired CEO Jesse Hill and the late former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. Jackson’s firm — Jackson Securities — was purchased by Atlanta Life after his passing.

“Having Gov. Barnes join our board at the beginning of my tenure as CEO adds to the excitement of this new era,” Taggart said. “He is an extraordinary leader, and his contributions to the board will be welcomed.”

According to the release, Atlanta Life Financial Group is the only African-American owned and privately-held company in the country with a financial services platform that includes asset management, investment banking/brokerage and insurance.

Atlanta Life has three subsidiaries:

· Herndon Capital Management, an institutional investment firm specializing in large capitalization equity strategies;

· Jackson Securities, an investment bank/brokerage firm that specializes in municipal finance, corporate underwriting and equity execution;

· and Atlanta Life Insurance Co., the legacy entity of the company that includes the reinsurance of group life insurance and dental benefits; a multi-line insurance broker offering personal and commercial lines of property and casualty coverage; and health and other financial services products.

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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