Atlanta Business Leaders Shan Cooper and David Abney Elected Georgia Historical Society Board Chair and Vice-Chair

Savannah, GA, June 17, 2022 – The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) has announced that Shan Cooper and David Abney have been elected to serve as Board Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the GHS Board of Curators. Clyde Tuggle was named Treasurer and H. Jerome Russell, Jr., was named Secretary.

GHS also announced that Dan Cathy, Beatriz Perez, Venessa Harrison, and Jeff Kole have been elected to serve as board members. The new leadership was elected at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Curators held in Savannah.

“The level of influence and visibility enjoyed by any non-profit institution is directly tied to the quality and reputation of its board,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “Shan, David, and these outstanding new additions further strengthen our leadership team, allowing us to fulfill our teaching and research mission and enhance our reputation as the trusted source for history in this state.”

Shan Cooper recently stepped down as Executive Director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress to launch a new company called Journey Forward. She is also a former Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. Cooper was named Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2015 Most Respected Business Leader; the 2015 Women of the Year by American Association of University Women; and as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s Most Influential Georgians in 2012 – 2016, 2020 and 2021. She was also named one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2017.

She serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Atlantic Capital Bank, N.A, the Georgia Power Company, Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and Veritiv Corporation; the Board of Directors for Grady Health System and the Board of Trustees of Emory University. Shan is also on the Board of Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Historical Society, Zoo Atlanta and a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and a Life Member of the Board of Councilors for The Carter Center.

David Abney is the former Executive Chairman of the UPS Board of Directors. He served as CEO of UPS from 2014 to May 2020 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in 2016. Prior to his role as Chairman and CEO, Mr. Abney served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing logistics, sustainability, engineering, and all facets of UPS’s global transportation network. He began his UPS career in 1974 as a part-time UPS package loader while attending Delta State University.

Abney serves as a Trustee of the UPS Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta as well as the Business Roundtable. In 2019, he received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award for perseverance, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. He also served as Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, as well as on the boards of Macy’s, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Catalyst, an organization working to accelerate and advance women into senior leadership and board positions.

Clyde Tuggle is Co-Founder and Founding Partner of Pine Island Capital Partners, an innovative private equity investment firm.  Prior to Pine Island Capital Partners, Tuggle spent 30 years with The Coca-Cola Company. He served in many roles, most recently, from 2009, to 2017, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Communications, a position reporting directly to the Chairman and CEO of the Company.  He retired from the company in 2018.

Tuggle serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Power Company, where he is chairman of the compensation committee and on the boards of Oxford Industries, Inc and TRIFORM, LLC. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Agnes Scott College and a Trustee of the Georgia Research Alliance. He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse and the U.S. Russia Business Council.  He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Goizueta Business School Advisory Board and the Yale University International Advisory Board. In 2013, Tuggle was elected a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Jerome Russell, Jr. is the President of H. J. Russell & Company and Russell New Urban Development, LLC, where his focus is on the firm’s strategic direction and new business development. He has been involved in the beverage distribution, consumer marketing, banking, construction and development business for over 25 years.

Like his father, Herman J. Russell, Russell has an entrepreneurial flair, a firmly placed future orientation, and a dedication to his community. In 1997, Jerome was named to the Board of Citizens Trust Bank. In 2005, Jerome was named Chairman of the Loan Committee at Citizens Trust Bank. He also serves on the board of H. J. Russell & Company, Concessions International, Metro Atlanta YMCA, American Kidney Fund and Central Atlanta Progress. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta Rotary, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce the Young President Organization and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

Dan Cathy is the chairman of Chick-fil-A, Inc., one of America’s largest family-owned businesses. Before becoming Chairman and CEO, Cathy was President and Chief Operating Officer for 12 years. His previous roles include Senior Director of Operations, Vice President of Operations, and Executive Vice President. Under his leadership, Chick-fil-A was named the top fast-food restaurant for customer service by Newsweek in 2019 and received multiple honors in QSR’s 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards, including “The Most Respected Quick-Service Brand” and “Best Brand for Overall Experience.”

Active in the Atlanta community, Cathy serves on the boards of the Georgia Aquarium, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Committee for Progress, Eagle Ranch, and Heritage Preparatory School. He is a past chairman of The Carter Center’s Board of Councilors.

Beatriz “Bea” Perez is Senior Vice President and Chief Communications, Sustainability, and Strategic Partnerships Officer for The Coca-Cola Company. Perez oversees a diverse portfolio and manages networked teams that lead and support the company’s business objectives. This includes commitments to global leadership in the areas of environmental, social, and governance (ESG). Perez leads global external and internal communications, including digital media strategy for company-owned channels, global brand public relations, financial communications, and leadership communications.

Perez serves on various boards, including Chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation, the company’s global philanthropic arm, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. She is a public director for Primerica and W.W. Grainger, Inc

Venessa Harrison is the President of AT&T’s Southeast Coastal Region. She is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of AT&T’s public policy, economic development, and community engagement activities across the states of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Harrison serves on the boards of North Carolina A&T State University, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Committee for Progress, the Atlanta Police Foundation, Agnes Scott College, and the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

Jeff Kole is the President of Kole Investment Company, a Savannah-based real estate investment and management company. A Savannah native, Kole is the current Board Chairman of East Savannah United, a nonprofit focused on the holistic revitalization of several east Savannah neighborhoods, and he is a board member of the Savannah Music Festival and Parent University. He is a past Board Chairman of United Way of the Coastal Empire, Senior Citizens Inc., the Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA), Savannah Apartment Association, and Georgia Apartment Association.

The new members of the GHS Board of Curators will serve a three-year term beginning July 1, 2022.

For more information on the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society please contact Keith Strigaro at 912-651-2125, ext. 153 or by email at


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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