Coca-Cola North America President Sandy Douglas was presented with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI)’s William H. Albers Award for Industry Relations Saturday night at a ceremony in Miami. The honor recognizes the 28-year Coca-Cola veteran’s role as a food and beverage industry statesman and advocate for collaboration.

Douglas is the seventh Coca-Cola executive to receive the FMI William H. Albers Award, continuing a legacy of industry leadership and service. He joins a distinguished class that includes Paul Austin (1968), Don Keough (1976) and Roberto Goizueta (1995).

“I’m incredibly grateful and honored to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the entire Coca-Cola system,” Douglas said. “This award is about the partnerships and actions that we have taken together as an industry to advance the quality, speed and effectiveness of our service to our customers.”

Sandy Douglas

Sandy Douglas accepts the FMI award Jan. 20 in Miami

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin applauded Douglas’ commitment to establishing industry standards, particularly in supply chain and technology communication. “Sandy is a stalwart champion and leader of industry causes,” she said. “He willingly takes on the thorniest issues within our supply chain and continues working on them with candor and transparency until he and those on the journey with him find the rose at the end of the stem.”

Sarasin added, “Sandy’s penchant for building trusting relationships has provided an example for food retailers and their suppliers to emulate, inspiring trading partners throughout the industry to approach one another with integrity and greater candor.” 

Danny Wegman, chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets, worked with Douglas in the early 2000s to synchronize supply chain data for food retailers.

“This may sound simple, but it wasn’t,” Wegman said in a video testimonial. “I truly appreciate Sandy’s leadership and tenacity.”

The resulting data hub, now known as 1WorldSync, is part of the GS1 family of companies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the adoption and implementation of standards-based global supply chain solutions. Douglas, who served as GSI chairman from 2007 to 2009, was instrumental in leading the adoption of the transformational platform, which houses a full range of product facts, inventory data, supply chain information and more for the packaged goods industry.

Since 2013, Douglas has co-chaired the FMI and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Trading Partner Alliance, where he promotes collaboration between FMI and GMA for the continued success of the food supply chain. He also serves on the boards of the American Beverage Association, FMI, GMA and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, and on the charity leadership boards of the East Lake Foundation and Morehouse College.

In accepting the FMI award, he thanked his Coca-Cola colleagues, customers, partners and competitors. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this industry that has as its call to action service,” Douglas said. “We call it a supply chain, but what we really are is a service chain. It's an industry that shares the core values that make our country great – openness, honesty, integrity and transparency."

FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI serves more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the U.S. and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of venues where food is sold, including single-owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores.