Highly effective Atlanta enterprise chief Jimmy Williams, 90, passes away 

Through the peak of his profession, Jimmy Williams held a coveted spot as one among Atlanta’s most influential leaders.

Williams was a key connection level on the intersection of energy between Belief Firm Financial institution (later SunTrust and now Truist), the Coca-Cola Co. and the Robert W. Woodruff Basis.

By the point he was elected president and CEO of SunTrust Banks in April 1990, Williams had already been a director of the Coca-Cola Co. since 1979, because of a particular friendship he held with Robert W. Woodruff, the legendary chief of Atlanta’s most acknowledged model. 

Woodruff acknowledged Williams had distinctive skills — a photographic reminiscence when it got here to steadiness sheets and monetary information that will be invaluable to the Coca-Cola Co. Williams served as a director of the Coca-Cola Co. till April 2013, lengthy after Woodruff’s dying in 1985.

Jenner Wooden, Jimmy Williams and Russ Hardin in 2018 when Williams stepped down as chairman of the Robert W. Woodruff Basis. (Picture by Maria Saporta.)

Williams additionally served on the board of the Woodruff Basis, the biggest philanthropic entity within the Southeast, since its inception in 1985. He stepped down as board chair in 2018, handing over management to a SunTrust colleague, Jenner Wooden. However Williams remained on the board till his dying Tuesday from issues of Parkinson’s Illness. The household’s obituary is beneath, which incorporates memorial service info.

Shortly after I started writing a enterprise column for the Atlanta Journal-Structure in 1991, I wished to know who essentially the most highly effective folks in Atlanta had been. “The 2 Jimmys” was a response I bought from insiders — referring to Williams and his closest pal Jimmy Sibley, a King & Spalding lawyer who additionally served on the board of the Coca-Cola Co. and the Woodruff Basis.

Throughout that point, little occurred in Atlanta with out getting the backing of the 2 Jimmy’s.

I keep in mind one lunch dialog with Williams once I was questioning why he didn’t use his affect to weigh in on a key situation of the day. His response: Somebody stays influential by not overusing his or her energy. In brief, Williams knew he needed to decide his battles.

Jimmy Williams and Wilton Looney on the Real Components 2017 annual assembly. (Picture by Maria Saporta.)

One other reminiscence I’ve, the one time I keep in mind Williams was upset by my reporting, was throughout an annual assembly of the Coca-Cola Co. in Wilmington, Del. I had simply written about SunTrust’s annual assembly, noting as soon as once more that there have been no ladies on its board.

“Why do you retain bringing that up,” Williams challenged me. I merely responded that I’d give up bringing it up when SunTrust named a lady to its board.

Williams was a quiet chief, a person of few phrases. However when he did speak, these phrases spoke volumes. 

We are going to miss you, Jimmy.

The Household’s Obituary

James Bryan “Jimmy” Williams, Sr, age 90, handed away at his Atlanta dwelling on January 23, 2024 from issues of Parkinson’s Illness.  He was born March 21, 1933 to Eugene Grant and Ellen Bryan Williams in Sewanee, Tennessee and raised in Rossville, Georgia.  

He graduated from The McCallie College in Chattanooga, Tennessee after which from Emory College in 1955, the place he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  He joined the Belief Firm of Georgia in 1955, spent two years of service within the U.S. Air Pressure, then returned to the financial institution in 1957 as a member of the Administration Coaching Program.  He spent his total profession at “Belief Firm”, AKA The Belief Firm of Georgia, SunTrust Banks, and now Truist.  From 1964 to 1973 he was President & CEO of Belief Firm Financial institution of Augusta, returning to Atlanta in 1973.  In April 1990 he was elected President & CEO of SunTrust Banks after which Chairman in 1991.  

Jimmy Williams.

A few of his company boards included The Coca-Cola Firm, Real Components Firm, Rollins Inc., Georgia-Pacific Corp., SONAT, the Sea Island Firm, and others over a few years.  He was a trustee of Emory College, The Westminster Faculties, and Berry Faculty.   He was previous president of the Augusta Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.  He was an Eagle Scout and Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Military.  He was Chairman of the Robert W. Woodruff Basis, the Joseph B. Whitehead Basis, the Lettie Pate Evans Basis, the Luther C. Fischer Basis, and former Chairman of the Board of the R.W. Woodruff Well being Sciences Heart at Emory College.  He was previous President of the Augusta Nation Membership, the Atlanta Capital Metropolis Membership, and the Atlanta Commerce Membership, and a member of the Piedmont Driving Membership, the Peachtree Golf Membership, the Sea Island Membership, and the Ocean Forest Membership at Sea Island.  He has been a member of the Peachtree Presbyterian Church since his return to Atlanta in 1973.  He’s survived by his spouse of 43 years, Betty Adams Williams, and three kids:  Ellen Williams White of St Simons Island, Ga; Elizabeth Williams Bean (Jonathan) of New York Metropolis; and James Bryan Williams, Jr. of Nashville, Ga. 5 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Mary Beth Williams of Atlanta (he was preceded in dying by his brother, Robert E. “Bobby” Williams); bother-in-law, Richard Adams (Cathy) of Alpharetta;  sister-in-law, Rena Adams Linscott of Dunwoody and nieces, nephews and cousins.  The household want to thank his caregivers, Brianna Rivera and Isohola Olayinka, for his or her loving care over the previous two years.

A visitation can be held on Thursday, January 25 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at H.M. Patterson & Son – Arlington Chapel, 173 Allen Rd. NE, Sandy Springs.  The funeral service can be January 26, 2024 at 11:00 AM at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Emory College (because of the present renovations of the Peachtree Presbyterian Church sanctuary) with the Reverend Richard Kannwischer officiating.  A personal graveside service will observe at Arlington Memorial Cemetery in Sandy Springs.  In lieu of flowers, the household requests that contributions be made to the Woodruff Well being Sciences Heart, Workplace of Present Data, Emory College, 1762 Clifton Rd. NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30322.


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