“Claus was a true globalist
with a deep understanding
country in which we operate.
He was dedicated to our company
and fostering a more inclusive world.
His commitment to everything
he did was second to none
and he was always a gentleman
with a wonderful
dry sense of humor.
The world is a better place because of Claus
E. Neville Isdell
The Coca-Cola Company
Claus M. Halle
International Business Executive and Philanthropist
M. Halle, (1927 – 2004) was an international business executive
and philanthropist. Born in Schwelm, Germany in 1927, Mr. Halle
was raised in Germany after spending his early childhood years
in India with his parents. At age 16, Mr. Halle was drafted into
the German army during World War II. He was taken prisoner by
the Allied Forces and, following his release, completed his high
school education. He then worked for three years at a British
PX facility, which enabled him to obtain permission to bring
his parents and family members from East Germany to West Germany,
although he was forced to forgo university training to support
his family. In 1950 he obtained a trainee position with The Coca-Cola
Company of Germany starting as a truck deliveryman. During the
next 45 years, he rose to be President of Coca-Cola Germany,
then President of Coca-Cola Europe and, ultimately, Senior Executive
Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company and President of Coca-Cola
International. During his nearly four decades of service to The
Coca-Cola Company, he developed a reputation for solving even
the most complex problems through precise analysis and the application
of a few simple principles.
Following his retirement as President of
International Soft Drink Business Sector in 1989, Mr. Halle continued
to serve as an international consultant for The Coca-Cola Company
and as Director on numerous boards including Coca-Cola Enterprises,
and the Supervisory Board of Coca-Cola GmbH, Germany. He actively
and financially participated as a Trustee of The Carter Center,
the Woodruff Arts Center, the Southern Center for International
Studies, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies,
and a Director of the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics, the
German American Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Goethe, and the
International University Bremen. He was a member of the Council
of Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., the Rotary Club of
Atlanta, and the Capital City Club in Atlanta. Mr. Halle was
awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit by
the President of the Federal Republic of Germany; in 2000 Mr.
Halle was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by Emory University;
in 2001 he was honored as the Georgia Philanthropist of the Year.
A naturalized American citizen, Mr. Halle devoted enormous energy
and resources to promoting international awareness and cooperation.
In 1986, he established The Halle Foundation which seeks to promote
understanding, knowledge and friendship between the people of
Germany and those of the United States. In 1997, Mr. Halle established
The Halle Institute for Global Learning at Emory University with
an endowment gift. In 2003, Mr. Halle brought together a group
of business and civic leaders to host a conference celebrating
the unification of Germany. The conference, held in Atlanta,
featured former U.S. President George Bush, former German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl, and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
His work in the field of international philanthropy sought to
encourage Americans to learn more about the views and ways of
thinking of others and to become global as well as national citizens.
He actively brought together people from around the world, from
students to statesmen, in his own home to engage them in his
philosophy. His philanthropic reach was national and international.
He was a man of broad vision, quick intellect, charm, wit, and
deep international understanding. Claus Halle lived his life
seeking to expand understanding and respect around the globe.