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Coca-Cola General Counsel Who Imposed Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Loses Position

Coca-Cola General Counsel Who Imposed Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Loses Position

Things may go better with Coke, but they don’t go better with Woke. With a massive 7-figure payout, failure has succeeded quite well for Bradley Gayton.

Things may go better with Coke, but they don’t go better with Woke. The Coca-Cola company has taken major public relations hits for its role in attacking the Georgia voter integrity law, and its abusive and racist employee training that taught people how to “be less white.”

There also were the racial hiring quotas for outside counsel, something we wrote about on January 29, 2021, Coca-Cola Imposes Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Staffing:

Coca-Cola Company is now mandating racial quotas for how its outside law firms staff Coca-Cola work. Not just aspirations to increase diversity, straight out minimums based on race. In the zero sum game of how a limited number of matters are staffed by a limited number of lawyers, that means Coca-Cola is mandating that law firms engage in racism.

The letter  from then Coke General Counsel Bradley Gayton (pdf.) provided a chart spelling out the quotas, including who qualifies as a “diversity” attorney and what the minimum percentages need to be:

Outside counsel commit to providing KO with self-identified diversity data (including American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black, Women, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ+, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and Persons with Disabilities) for KO’s quarterly analysis of the diversity of teams working on KO matters

* * *

For each new KO matter following the revision to the guidelines (“New Matters”), you commit that at least 30% of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from Black attorneys. Work performed by diverse attorneys is expected to be accretive to their development and advancement at the firm. These percentages are approximately linked to U.S. Census population data. These minimum commitments will be adjusted over time as U.S. Census data evolves, with an ultimate aspiration that at least 50% of billed associate time and billed partner time will be from diverse attorneys with at least half of that amount from Black attorneys. You will also work to apply the above commitment to our existing matters with your firm.

The plan was controversial and generated a lot of criticism, because, you know, racial quotas in hiring and terms of employment are illegal. Coke was forcing law firms to violate the law.

Now Gayton is gone as General Counsel, moved the the vague role of “Strategic Consultant.” Bloomberg Law reports:

The Coca-Cola Co. announced Wednesday that it is moving legal chief Bradley Gayton to a “strategic consultant” role less than a year after he joined the company and promoting in-house lawyer Monica Howard Douglas to general counsel.

Gayton, who joined Coca-Cola on Sept. 1 and recently announced ambitious new diversity requirements for the company’s outside lawyers, will immediately become a strategic consultant to Coca-Cola chairman and CEO James Quincey.

“I, along with the company’s leadership team and the board of directors, thank Bradley for his service as our global general counsel,” Quincey said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him in this new role.”

Gayton echoed that sentiment in a statement of his own. “It has been a privilege to do such important work with my amazing colleagues in the legal department and to be part of Coca-Cola’s dynamic leadership team,” he said.

Coca-Cola spokesman Scott Leith, when asked about the impetus for its general counsel change or whether Gayton’s strategic consulting role is a permanent or temporary position, said the company would have no additional comment.

It’s not clear what caused Gayton to lose the position. “Strategic Consultant” sounds like a do-nothing position to save him the embarrassment of being fired outright, or perhaps he has a contract that guarantees him employment for some definite term. After all, he previously was General Counsel at Ford Motor Co., so he likely would not have left without some employment guarantee. That may be why he reportedly is getting a $4 million one-time bonus and $666,666 PER MONTH for a year for being a do-nothing Strategic Consultant. Sound like a settlement to avoid a lawsuit.

Ed Whelan points out:

Gayton is also reported to have “received almost $4.7 million in total compensation” for his four months of employment with Coca-Cola in 2021. So he will have received some $17 million for his eight months as general counsel (and for whatever consulting he ends up doing, which I expect will be close to nothing).

Whatever happened, his bio page has been removed:

So we can’t say that the racial quotas caused his termination. Considering how Woke Coke has become, maybe he wasn’t aggressive enough.


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Brave Sir Robbin | April 23, 2021 at 7:16 am

Well, he was advising his client to break the law with overt racial discrimination. Not that the law matters anymore. (or commons sense, nor decency, nor logical reasoning, etc.)

    NotSoFriendlyGrizzly in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | April 23, 2021 at 8:47 am

    From the way this reads, I don’t think that he was advocating for his client (Coke) to break the law. What he was advocating for was “color diversity” among outside counsel which, if the outside firms implemented, would have resulted in them breaking the law.

    Either way, it’s still stupid.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to NotSoFriendlyGrizzly. | April 23, 2021 at 8:53 am

      So, he is saying if you are an external law firm, break the law if you want business from Coca-Cola. Sounds at least like disbarment territory.

      Wonder why terms of separation were so generous? I wonder… I wonder….

        Typically when terms are this generous it is to buy the silence of the person getting the pay off and restrict them from working for competitors (to whom they may reveal trade secrets). They likely had him sign an airtight confidentiality agreement and a long term restriction on future employment. This type of agreement is rare – and usually occurs when the employer has an employees that is a serious threat to their business.

        No one, not even big companies, pays millions for nothing. Shareholders should be livid.

      Char Char Binks in reply to NotSoFriendlyGrizzly. | April 23, 2021 at 9:02 am

      He was DEMANDING that they break the law. THEY are allowed to do that.

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Char Char Binks. | April 23, 2021 at 9:49 am

        I do not think an attorney can advise or demand that someone break the law. Well, they can, but it can cause disbarment as well as produce professional liability.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to NotSoFriendlyGrizzly. | April 23, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      Affirmative shit has been flawed from the beginning, in that there are not enough black people qualified, not enough black people who are intellectually capable of doing those jobs.

      Blaming environmental conditions as the cause of blacks failure to perform, and not considering impact of low IQ, was a complete disaster.

      Blacks and brown, in fact all races and groups, expectations need to based on their actual capabilities.

      It is time we put our collective feet down, tell them we are sorry that they are inferior, that we cannot help, and that they must assume positions appropriate for their actual abilities.

      Normally, I would advocate letting them down gently, but in this case they deserve to have their noses rubbed in the brutal truth.

      Plus. that long list with stipulations seems simply unsustainable and untrackable.

Well, one thing Gayton did achieve is that now I dont, ever, buy Coca Cola!

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to olafauer. | April 23, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Nope. And as I recall, they have been accused of trying to addict lower income (read “black”) children to their over caffeinated and sugared product causing massive disparate health issues in the communities of people-of-color. Therefore, for the sake of social and medical equity, sales of Coca-Cola products need to be banned in inner cities or counties with a certain percentage of population of people-of-color, and to any or in any country populated with people-of-color. Better yet, sales of Coca-Cola should be strictly limited to people who are classified as “white.”

    I am also rather shocked, and greatly disappointed, that people-of-color would debase themselves to work such a savagely colonialist white supremacists country that devastates the health of people-of-color on a global scale.

    Bradley Gayton should reject this blood money and give all to Al Sharpton for distribution to support redistributive justice and so serve to end the cycle of white oppression and institutional racism in America.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | April 23, 2021 at 8:57 am

      Sorry – “I am also rather shocked, and greatly disappointed, that people-of-color would debase themselves to work such a savagely colonialist white supremacists country…”

      Should read, “I am also rather shocked, and greatly disappointed, that people-of-color would debase themselves to work for such a savagely colonialist white supremacists company…”

      Only on my third cup of coffee this morning. Generally need six to up and running.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to olafauer. | April 23, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    List of Coke’s brands, it is long.

At least when Coke disappears somebody, they are left alive. I think.

Bucky Barkingham | April 23, 2021 at 7:35 am

Gayton is no longer Corporate General Council but are his quotas still in force? The report does not say. We can safely assume that Monica Howard Douglas contributes to the diversity at the top of the Coca-Cola corporation.

Justice for Ashli Babbitt!


    The Newo-Racists pretend to be anti-racist. Really they are in favor against racism — just so long as it is not directed at Blacks. You don’t fight racism with more racism. But you do divide a country with such policies (where the division is not black v. white but rather Woke v. Everyone Else).

Its time to “identify” as black, can always use the extra income.

I am totally over this equity business, whatever happened to ‘best person for the job’?
Do I really want an equitable airline pilot?
Do I really want an equitable doctor?
Do I really want an equitable politician?
Equity is code for 2nd best, thanks but no thanks.

I think there will be a backlash against all the woke bullshit.

Coke should begin adding dark brown tint to Sebm-Up.

That explains a recent article about them raising prices. Imbecilic.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to WestRock. | April 23, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Yes. Just remember, every time you buy a Coca-Cola product, you are helping pay for this guy’s payout.

Char Char Binks | April 23, 2021 at 9:01 am

Don’t buy sugar water. Save your pennies and invest in companies that sell sugar water to morons; Iot will pay a lot in the long run.

Maybe, like socialism, they think racism just hasn’t been done “correctly” yet.

They sure are trying hard.

ScottTheEngineer | April 23, 2021 at 9:06 am

I had the hwife switch to RC.
I dont want my hard earned money going to an institutionally racist company.

    SeiteiSouther in reply to ScottTheEngineer. | April 23, 2021 at 11:42 am

    I went to RC when this whole BS started. Unfortunately, I have to climb into the Well of the Souls in order to find the location of a supermarket that sells the stuff regularly.

    Snakes…. Why’d it have to be snakes….

    I looked into RC, woke-ness infiltrated them, along with Pepsi. I believe there is some cross ownership into RC. Dunno if Sodastream is woke or not.

    I don’t boycott every damn thing there is, but just like the toxic manly razors- I’m voting with dollars on this one. Hopefully they’ve been hit hard enough for it to hurt.

    We switched our sugar caffeine fix to home made sun tea (steep with fresh lemons and a sprig of mint and it’s the best drink on earth.) The cane sugar is less bad for you than the corn chem in soda anyway.

    The other sugar drink we are going to try and do is steeping lemons/sugar with flavored simple syrups similar to sun tea.

    Char Char Binks in reply to ScottTheEngineer. | April 23, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    RC isn’t any better, and neither are Pepsi, Schweppes, Faygo, or any other.

    First, you’re still paying an exorbitant price to ruin your health. A store brand/generic/small local bottler would at least save you money.

    Second, there’s nothing that will keep RC from going woke. Pepsi went woke with its ads recently, but in a sugary, bubbly, refreshing and digestible way that still made most people sick, just like their flagship fizzy drink.

    The problem isn’t corporations, but that the left, instead of replacing capitalism with socialism, as in the past, has switched to Plan B to pervert our legal and political systems to destroy corporations from within, and remake them in their intersectional image.

    We need to work hard and smart to restore our rights, and not put our faith in some product or company that doesn’t care about us in the slightest.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to ScottTheEngineer. | April 23, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    I sure as hell am in backlash mode.

If you look back a couple of decades you’ll see how The New School was leading in this radical ideology and could have almost charted the path of the evolution of wokeness. Those “academics” were describing how to make a well-paying industry out of it and how to make it gradually become the cultural norm. Way back you could see law profs and liberal arts profs all using the same language and talking about how to use law to change culture. Which has defined the progressive approach for a while now. Using the power of law to MAKE people change.

The Friendly Grizzly | April 23, 2021 at 9:55 am

What were his qualifications for bring Coke’s lead council in the first place.

There are real definitional and privacy concerns here. On the one hand, certain categories are impossible to verify, such as LGBTQ+. (Suppose you were “Q:uestioning your sexuality, would you want that reported to Coca Cola?)

Suppose that one of your great grandparents was black and seven were white. If you self-identify to Coca Cola, would that be “black enough?”

If a lawyer had a “disability,” wouldn’t the attorney want that kept confidential?

There is also the impact that these rules would have on the internal structure of the law firm. In general, young associates want to avoid big cases and to find good mentors where they can show off their work. If a partner who is black become the “relationship partner” with Coca Cola, one would hope that he would treat all associates equally when building up his mentorship network. However, Coca Cola is putting pressure upon him to make sure that at least half of the people he puts on the Coca Cola matter are black. This promotes internal tribalism in the large law firm structure.

Please note Coca Cola does not address gender based discrimination. Nor does it consider the diversity in the support staff.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to lawgrad. | April 23, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Some white associate will suddenly find out he is a black female trans-lesbian when given his Coca-Cola charge code.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | April 23, 2021 at 11:56 am

The Coca-Cola Co. announced Wednesday that it is moving legal chief Bradley Gayton to a “strategic consultant” role less than a year after he joined the company and promoting in-house lawyer Monica Howard Douglas to general counsel.

Replaced a black guy with a black woman.

It’s amazing … blacks only make up about 12% of the population, drastically underperform all other groups in areas like Law (even given huge handicaps on getting into law schools and graduating through) … and yet, Coca Cola, keeps finding blacks to be their lead counsels. Those are amazing odds, really. Coke ought to think about trying their hands at some lotteries … maybe doing some betting on the horses …

    Char Char Binks in reply to ThePrimordialOrderedPair. | April 23, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Coke is too big to fail, but if they keep hiring lawyers based on race, especially from a minority race that has generally lower achievement, that will change.

    Was she the one he harassed?

    Oh, don’t be fooled by the shell game. The black guy might have screwed the pooch, and therefore gotten thrown under the Learjet, but the woke-kink in the culture is still coming from much higher than him.

    Dear Coke:
    Unspoken phrases, and reassignments. won’t get you where you want to go—No!
    Repent or be cast out.

Coke is not alone in taking WOKE to extremes. Look at Nike and their paying CK more money than he likely could make in the NFL. Both of these companies may well be looking at their customer base and basing their policies on what they think their customers will like.

Keep the boycott going till at least when the CEO is gone.

Your body will thank you for not drinking their crap.

    vinnymeyer in reply to | April 23, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    So.. Here’s a dumb question. Is this guy such a good lawyer that he’s actually worth a seven figure salary? Being moved from general counsel to some obscure position would indicate to me that he isn’t.

      henrybowman in reply to vinnymeyer. | April 24, 2021 at 7:50 pm

      This is usually the point where you dig into somebody’s family tree, and discover that his mother’s sister’s husband is in his 20th year seated on the federal sugar price supports board.

Diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment), not limited to racism, denies individual dignity, individual conscience, intrinsic value, normalizes color blocs (e.g. people of brown), color quotas, and affirmative discrimination. #HateLovesAbortion

the same week coke announced that they are going to raise prices. paying off people to do nothing leads to that

“For each new KO matter following the revision to the guidelines (“New Matters”), you commit that at least 30% of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from Black attorneys.”

So, they want at least 30% to be black, which is a larger black % than the general % of blacks in the US population.

I do not know the answer to this question:

What is the % of black attorneys of all US attorneys?

Subotai Bahadur | April 23, 2021 at 4:11 pm

Being Chinese-American I am not classified as white, and yet being part white but also part Chinese I do not count for “Diversity” purposes. The one thing I can say is that having a white half, I must never buy Coke products [and there are a lot of them, so check carefully] so as to not risk adding to the “too white” problems that they have.

Subotai Bahadur

After the diversity mandate debacle Coke would be wise to allow him to sit on his hands as a “strategic consultant.” As such, he could possibly do even greater harm to the company than he has already done.

All this discussion is very interesting, but what I personally want to know is, if I decide to identify as a black female, can I too get a job from which I can then be removed and receive $17 million in compensation???

ugottabekiddinme | April 23, 2021 at 7:01 pm

This clown holds a top job for all of 8 months, then creates a stir and walks away with $17 million, but, but, but . . . I keep reading how RACIST America is.
So says twice-elected president Barack from his multi-million dollar Martha’s Vineyard pad, so it must be true, amirite?
As my 10-year old grandson might say, “Seriously??”

Close The Fed | April 23, 2021 at 9:26 pm

My doctor told me 10 years ago to quit drinking Coca Cola because the acid damaged me. It was VERY hard.

Then a couple of years ago, I started drinking it again, and the problem came back.

I recently rediscovered Kool-Aid, and must say, my urge for Coca Cola is 99% gone. So glad. So cheap! No acid! No caffeine! Less sugar!!!

Then last year I was told, no caffeine at all, not even on my birthday, by an ER doc. Great. No Coke, no coffee, no chocolate, no tea. But Kool-Aid is fine!

I sleep SO much better now!

I was wondering how long this would take. Openly advising the world that your employer would violate Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 doesn’t seem like a smart move.