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NAME AND TITLE: Deval L. Patrick, executive vice president and general counsel, Coca-Cola Co. AGE: 46 BIAS BUSTER: Civil rights lawyers don’t typically wind up as general counsel for Fortune 100 companies. But then again, there’s nothing typical about the life and legal career of Deval L. Patrick — which includes a childhood in the shadows of a public housing project, degrees from an exclusive prep school, Harvard College and Harvard Law School and work as a civil rights advocate, commercial lawyer and top Department of Justice official. Texaco Inc. turned to Patrick for help in resolving a nasty discrimination lawsuit, which included a covert tape recording of senior executives using racial slurs to refer to black employees and discussing possible destruction of incriminating documents. In 1996, Texaco signed a then-record $176 million settlement of the suit, and also agreed to an also unprecedented court-appointed blue-ribbon Equality and Fairness Task Force, headed by Patrick, to oversee the company’s employment practices. In February 1999, Texaco hired him as general counsel. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Co. was also dealing with its own job discrimination class action, filed by black employees alleging bias in pay, promotions and performance appraisals. Coke settled the case in November 2000 for $192.5 million, and agreed to a Texaco-style blue-ribbon panel, headed by former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. Since becoming Coke’s GC in March 2001, Patrick has worked with the Herman panel to overhaul the company’s employment practices. In its September annual report, the task force gave a favorable review of Coke’s progress in establishing uniform compensation policies and job-evaluation procedures. However, the report noted that many minority and female workers still doubt the company’s commitment to fairness, and chided the company for failing to appoint minorities to two recent board openings. Patrick acknowledged that the company had a big job ahead in convincing workers that employment reforms will be permanent. On the director appointments, Patrick said that Coke CEO Douglas Daft was committed to making diversity an important factor in consideration of all appointments. THE REAL THING: Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. is the world’s leading seller of nonalcoholic beverages, with Coke and its many other products being sold in almost 200 countries. The company, with 29,000 employees worldwide, reported net income of $3.9 billion in 2001. PATRICK’S PACK: Patrick oversees 138 attorneys and an annual budget of nearly $90 million for in-house and outside counsel. About half of Coke’s lawyers work in the United States, most in Atlanta. The rest are scattered worldwide. The office is organized under four deputy general counsel, who divide responsibility for legal issues, including transactions, litigation, intellectual property and securities regulatory compliance. Patrick focuses on policy-making matters before the board, and strategic decisions on major transactions and litigation. His pay at Coke has made him the target of some post-Enron punditry about excessive executive compensation. In 2001, his first year, he earned $1.35 million in salary and bonuses and was awarded stock options valued at a reported $19.4 million. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Most Coca-Cola bottlers in the U.S. and abroad are independent affiliates, but Coke is still sometimes hit with lawsuits arising from bottlers’ alleged misconduct. Last July, a Colombian labor union sued the company in federal court in Miami over violence against union members at Colombian bottling plants, including the murder of eight union leaders in the last decade. Coke denies the allegations in the pending suit. “I don’t think that’s the end of the issue, because there are serious issues around violence against workers of all kinds” in Colombia, he said. “I am trying to find a way to have a conversation with the lead plaintiff about how we and the bottlers can help.” According to Patrick, Coke’s contracts with its bottlers contain workplace standards that require worker safety, respect for the rights of union members and rules that bar child labor and discrimination. Coke will terminate its relationship with bottlers who don’t live up to these standards, said Patrick, adding that Coke had once severed ties with a Guatemalan bottler that “was not doing everything it could to help assure the safety of people working in the plant.” PRINCIPAL OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Coke’s main outside firms include litigation counsel Morrison & Foerster of San Francisco, Atlanta’s King & Spalding for litigation and general corporate work and the Atlanta office of Holland & Knight for employment matters. FROM THE PROJECTS TO THE BOARD ROOM: Patrick was raised by his mother and grandparents in a house near the Robert Taylor Homes, the once-notorious, now-demolished public housing project in Chicago. He attended Milton Academy, a Boston-area boarding school, thanks to a scholarship from a program that places gifted low-income children in high-end prep schools. Patrick graduated from Harvard College in 1978, spent a year in a United Nations teacher-training project in the Sudan, then returned to Harvard, where he received his law degree in 1982. In 1983, after a clerkship with 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt, Patrick joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York, where he worked on death penalty and voters’ rights litigation. In what proved to be a good career move, Patrick sued Arkansas over voter registration problems in the state, and wound up negotiating a settlement and striking up a friendship with the state’s governor, Bill Clinton. Patrick joined Boston’s Hill & Barlow in 1986, where he worked on commercial litigation, construction and securities work. In 1994, Clinton tapped Patrick to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division. Patrick recalls misgivings about the offer, which came on the heels of Clinton’s botched and withdrawn nomination of Lani Guinier, Patrick’s former colleague at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “I was nervous because of the, frankly, shabby way that the administration dealt with Lani, who was and remains a friend of mine,” he said, but he took the job with Guinier’s blessing. Among major projects at DOJ, Patrick lists his leadership of the church arson task force, defense of abortion clinics from violence by radical anti-abortion activists and work with the banking industry to end discriminatory loan practices. In 1997, Patrick returned to Boston as a partner at Hartford, Conn.-based Day, Berry & Howard. While at the firm, he chaired the court-appointed employment advisory group for Texaco. In February 1999, he went from outside adviser to in-house counsel at Texaco — after consulting and getting the approval of the judge and plaintiff’s counsel in the discrimination suit. His tenure as Texaco’s general counsel was consumed with the on-again, off-again merger negotiations with Chevron, which culminated in last year’s formation of ChevronTexaco Corp. Patrick became Coke’s general counsel in March 2001. Before taking the job, Patrick said he asked CEO Douglas Daft whether Coke was only interested in hiring a black GC for the sake of appearances. Daft assured him that the optics were irrelevant to Coke, although the company considered it a plus that he had dealt with discrimination matters at Texaco. “Both he and I know, though, that a certain part of the population is going to believe that if someone like me gets an opportunity like this, it must be for optics,” says Patrick. “I can’t be bothered with that.” PERSONAL: Patrick and his wife, Diane, a partner at Boston’s Ropes & Gray, have two daughters, Sarah, 17, and Katherine, 14. He splits his week between home in Boston and Atlanta. LAST BOOK READ: “Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate,” by Robert Caro.

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