Wednesday, December 01, 2004
J. Bruce Llewellyn
J. Bruce Llewellyn has distinguished himself nationally as an entrepreneur, as a public official, and as a role model in the American business community. He is Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the nation’s largest Black-owned firm.
Mr. Llewellyn was born in Harlem, his parents having immigrated to America from Jamaica. They were highly motivated people and instilled that motivation in their son. Mr. Llewellyn joined the United States Army at the age of sixteen, was made company commander by nineteen, and left the service at twenty-one whereupon he opened a retail store in Harlem. He operated this store and attended college at the same time, earning a Bachelor’s degree from The City University of New York (CUNY). He received his juris doctor from New York Law School in 1960 and also earned an M.B.A. degree at Columbia University, and a degree in public administration at New York University. He has been the recipient of over ten honorary doctorate degrees, including his undergraduate alma mater.
As a young African American in the 1960’s, Mr. Llewellyn turned to government and politics, believing that these avenues would offer him a better chance for career advancement. He worked in the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan from 1960 to 1962. In 1965, he became Regional Director of Region II of the United States Small Business Administration, and in 1967, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Housing for the City of New York.
In 1969, Mr. Llewellyn bought Fedco Foods Corporation, a chain of ten food stores in the South Bronx with gross sales of $18,000,000 annually. By 1984, when he sold Fedco, it had become the nation’s largest minority-owned retail business with 29 supermarkets, 900 employees, and annual gross revenues of $100,000,000. During this period, he also served as Chairman of Freedom National Bank.
In 1977, President Carter appointed Mr. Llewellyn as President of OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation). With the rank of U.S. Ambassador at large, Mr. Llewellyn held this position from 1977 through 1981. In 1983, he purchased The Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and in 1988, the Coca-Cola bottling operations in Wilmington, Delaware, of which he remains Chairman and the majority stockholder. In 1986, Mr. Llewellyn became the principal stockholder and Chairman of the ABC television network affiliate in Buffalo, New York. From 1989 through 1994, he served as the Chairman of Garden State Cablevision, Inc.
Mr. Llewellyn was appointed by President Clinton to the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation (ACTPN). He also serves on the Board of the Fund for Large Enterprises in Russia (FLER) and is currently Chairman of the United States Small Business Administration Advisory Council.