Putting Coke’s logo and product into stadiums, movie theatres and attractions around the globe were some of Dunn’s chief responsibilities during his 40 years with the beverage giant.
“All of us at The Coca-Cola Company owe Walter a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Coke CEO Muhtar Kent said in memo to employees. “One of the reasons that the Coca-Cola brand is so beloved today is because of its presence nearly everywhere people gather to have fun: amusement parks, stadiums, movie theatres, county fairgrounds and other attractions. Walter was instrumental in building that ubiquity and making sure that Coca-Cola is always associated with special places and fun times.”
Dunn negotiated contracts with The Walt Disney Co, the NHL, the NBA and most teams in Major League Baseball, according to a company statement.
He started with Coke as a sales director in 1962, and later left the company to become a vice president of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co in Los Angeles. He returned to the company after a short stint with the bottling company to join Coke’s prestige accounts department, which he led until 1995.
Kent said Dunn was “a man whose handshake was his word; Walter was revered by his many friends and colleagues. Walter was also a legend among his peers.”
Dunn was once named the movie industry’s ‘Pioneer of the Year’ according to the memo, and was the first person outside the film industry to receive such an honour.
Dunn is survived by his wife, Kay Davis Dunn, five sons, two stepchildren, 14 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
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