WHO: Thomas "Trey" H. Paris III, 37
WHAT: Manager, shareowner affairs
WHERE: The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta
WHEN: Joined Coke in 1989 to manage government relations. Began to develop shareowner affairs department in 1991 because top management "wanted to enhance the communications process with institutional shareholders. There was a niche group of endowments, pension funds and nonprofits whose needs were not being met," Mr. Paris said.
Typically negotiates with pension funds on areas of disagreement and avoids dissident shareholder resolutions.
WHY: Unusual man in an unusual job. Excellent communicator.
"Every company should get someone like him," said Nell Minow, principal at The Lens Fund. "He's done a wonderful job, forging a lot of alliances on issues that were contentious."
Added Richard Koppes, former general counsel for the California Public Employees' Retirement System and now a corporate governance attorney: "Trey recognizes the importance of large institutional shareholders and treats them as owners."
When Coke's Minute Maid unit seemed ripe for a strike by the United Farm Workers, Mr. Koppes said, Mr. Paris let CalPERS know immediately after the union and the company settled their grievances. "Trey knew we had a big position and would be concerned, so he made sure we knew what was going on."