Chattanooga Coca-Cola Co. Vice President Gary Davis plans to leave the local bottling company early next year after nearly 40 years on the job.
Davis said Monday he'll turn 62 in October, and he plans to retire in March 2013.
"It's bittersweet," he said, adding that he joined Birmingham, Ala.-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United after graduating from Furman University. "I'd always hoped by the time I got to this part of my life ... I'd give it a shot."
The Chattanooga native said it's not known yet who will fill his post.
According to Coca-Cola Bottling United's website, the 110-year-old company employs about 3,000 and is the third-largest bottler of Coke. There are 500 employees in Chattanooga, including the United Packers production group, Davis said.
"It's been an honor to be able to work in my hometown ... with all the legends that float around the city," he said, citing Chattanooga's concentration of people tied to Coke history.
Davis recalled the changes he has seen over the years, including the turbulent 1985 effort to try to introduce "New Coke." He also cited the move by Coke into diet and caffeine-free drinks and alternatives such as bottled water.
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