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Coca-Cola Legal Chief Douglas to Earn Half a Million in Salary

July 26, 2021, 10:22 PM

The Coca-Cola Co.’s new general counsel Monica Howard Douglas, who replaced former legal chief Bradley Gayton after he abruptly stepped down in April, will earn $555,000 in base salary and likely millions in total compensation, according to a Monday SEC filing.

A copy of Douglas’s offer letter from Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO James Quince listed terms and compensation details for her role as general counsel of the Atlanta-based beverage giant.

In addition to base salary, she was approved for a long-term incentive award valued at around $750,000 comprising stock options and growth share units that will vest over the next few years.

Douglas is also eligible for Coca-Cola’s annual performance incentive plan, with a target of 100% her annual base pay, as well as the company’s long-term incentive program. By 2026, Douglas is also required to maintain company shares at “a level equal to two times your base pay.”

Coca-Cola declined to comment on Douglas’s offer letter and compensation.

Douglas’s predecessor Gayton joined Coca-Cola in September 2020 and surprised many in the industry by stepping down from the top legal role on April 20 to take a year-long strategic consulting gig at the company. His sudden transition raised questions over whether Douglas will continue to uphold his extensive outside counsel diversity guidelines.

According to a consultancy agreement Coca-Cola filed Monday with the SEC, Gayton’s newly formed firm, NOXV LLC, will earn a lump sum payment of $4 million, in addition to $666,666 per month during his year-long stint as strategic consultant, for a total of nearly $12 million. The payments were first announced in an April filing, and the new agreement disclosed that Gayton will work a maximum of 40 hours per month for Coca-Cola and provide 20% of his previous services during his tenure.

Representatives for Gayton did not immediately provide comment on the newly disclosed agreement.

While Gayton will be allowed to work for other companies during his tenure as strategic consultant, he cannot provide services to other beverage companies, according to the agreement. In May, tax technology company Vertex Inc. announced that Gayton had joined its board of directors.

The agreement also included no publicity and non-disparagement clauses, in which Gayton agrees not to make any public statements about Coca-Cola.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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