- Robert Coker, Senior Vice President of U.S. Sugar, announced his retirement after 42 years of service, having played a key role in legislative efforts like the Everglades Forever Act and shaping ten federal farm bills.
- Coker joined U.S. Sugar in 1982, advancing to Senior Vice President, Public Affairs in 2000, and will be succeeded by Eric Edwards, the current Vice President of Governmental Affairs.
- Recognized for his significant contributions to Florida politics, Coker has been named Ag Lobbyist of the Year multiple times, featured in Florida Trends’ Florida 500, and recognized by Influence Magazine as a top business leader.
U.S. Sugar, the United States’ largest producer of sugarcane, announced on Tuesday that its Senior Vice President Robert Coker will retire at the end of the calendar year.
Serving the company for 42 years, Coker has been a major player in Florida politics. He was integral to legislative efforts surrounding the Everglades Forever Act, the Penny-A-Pound sugar tax amendments, the River of Grass Acquisition, and Senate Bill 10, while helping shape ten federal farm bills.
Coker first joined U.S. Sugar in 1982 as part of the Community Affairs Department. He was promoted to Vice President, Community Affairs in 1993 and to Senior Vice President, Public Affairs in 2000. Current Vice President of Governmental Affairs Eric Edwards, who according to the company has been working alongside Coker for the past seven years, will assume his responsibilities at state, federal, and local governmental levels.
“Robert has been a key part of defeating or greatly diminishing the negative impacts of many legislative and regulatory threats to our business as well as managing the politics of limiting potentially devastating trade impacts in NAFTA and other foreign trade agreements,” said U.S. Sugar President and CEO Kenneth W. McDuffie. “Robert Coker has been called a legend in the political arena, and that’s a pretty good summation of his career.”
Throughout his career, Coker was recurringly recognized as the Ag Lobbyist of the Year, named to Florida Trends’ Florida 500, and recognized by Influence Magazine as a top 150 business leader.
“U.S. Sugar has been fortunate that Coker and the political team he assembled have worked together so well over the years, successfully advocating on issues that have been critical to the success of our Company, our industry, and our rural community,” the company said in a prepared statement.”