David Abney was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, on September 2, 1955, to Tom and Marie Abney. Sherry Tharp was born in Lambert, Mississippi, on December 21, 1956, to Doyle and Carolyn Tharp. They were married on January 22, 1977, in Cleveland, Mississippi. David was a marketing major and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Delta State University. Sherry earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Trenton State College. They have two children, Val, and Matt, and seven grandchildren.
David began his 46-year career at United Parcel Service (UPS) in 1974 as a part-time package loader while in college. Earlier in his career, he served as president of SonicAir, a same-day delivery service that signaled UPS’s move into the service parts logistics sector. He worked his way up through the company, finally serving as CEO of UPS from 2014 until May 2020 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in 2016. Prior to his role as Chairman and CEO, David served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer for eight years, overseeing logistics, sustainability, engineering, and all facets of UPS’s global transportation network.
Sherry worked as an interior designer. She serves on the board of the Shepherd Center Foundation and previously served as a board member for both the Drake House and the City Springs Theatre. Sherry received the Blue Angels Award in 2019.
David is a trustee at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, an emeritus member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, and former trustee of UPS Foundation. In 2019, David received the Horatio Alger Award for perseverance, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. During that same year he was elected and served as Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
David is an emeritus member of the Delta State University Foundation board and he and Sherry have co-hosted the Delta State University’s International Business Symposium. David also serves on the board of the Mississippi State Bulldog Club, is co-chair of the Morehouse School of Medicine capital campaign, and serves on several corporate boards to include Target, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Freeport-McMoran. He holds an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Delta State University. David has also been awarded the Columbia University Deming Cup for Operational Excellence and the American Jewish Committee Atlanta National Human Relations Award.
David and Sherry Abney established the David and Sherry Abney Fund at the Georgia Historical Society in 2021, ensuring that their commitment to Georgia history will continue in perpetuity.