Talk of the bay: SunTrust Banks no longer so sweet on Coke

By Times Staff
Published May 17, 2007

SunTrust Banks is cutting back on Coke. The Atlanta-based banking company sold 9 percent of its 48.2-million share stake in Coca-Cola and is studying what to do with the rest. The bank's holdings date to 1919, when a predecessor handled Coke's initial public offering. SunTrust said it will use the $150-million net proceeds to buy back its own stock as it restructures. Investors apparently aren't concerned that the longtime business partners are growing apart - both stocks rose Wednesday. The secret formula for Coke is still locked securely in the bank's vaults.

Florida's the boss for women execs

BlueCross BlueShield of Florida snagged the No. 5 position on DiversityInc magazine's list of the best companies for executive women. A quarter of BCBS's directors are women, as are 44 percent of its middle managers, the magazine notes. The Florida connections don't stop there; the list's top three all have strong ties to the state: No. 1 Bank of America; No. 2 Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical company teaming up with Tampa's Moffitt cancer center; and No. 3 Xerox Corp., which last week bought Tampa-based Global Imaging Systems. To rank companies, DiversityInc examined retention, salary and promotion rates of women, and their representation on boards of directors and in senior management.

Port authority floats job opening

The job doesn't pay a dime and requires attending monthly meetings about land leases, tariff rates and dock permits. But you get to keep the fancy nameplate when you leave. The Tampa Port Authority is looking to fill one of seven seats on its governing board. You must have worked in the maritime business, win the backing of a review panel from the industry and, finally, receive the blessing of Gov. Charlie Crist. Applications are available at www.propellerclubtampa.com and go to Lynda Fleming at Holland & Knight LLP, 100 N Tampa St., Suite 4100, Tampa, FL 33602. Deadline is May 31.

Healthy alliance is in the works

GeoPharma , a Largo company that makes over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements, plans to buy Dynamic Health Products in a stock deal valued at about $13-million. Dynamic distributes sports nutrition products, performance drinks and related products. Jugal Taneja is chairman of the boards of both companies. Mihir Taneja and Mandeep Taneja, his sons, head GeoPharma and Dynamic, respectively. The deal is subject to shareholder approval.