From Cox Exec to the Mayor's Right Hand


Keisha Lance Bottoms wrote in Richard Cox Jr.’s 1987 high school yearbook that he was her brother, protector, friend and counselor. And those words have proven to be prophetic. They help explain why Bottoms, who became mayor of Atlanta in 2018, asked Richard, who became a successful Cox Automotive exec, to be her chief operating officer shortly after she embarked on her first term.

Richard (no relation to the Cox family that owns our company) was working as vice president of client advising and performance for at the time. And he didn’t want to abandon his career path at Cox. However, with the blessing of Cox Enterprises President and CEO Alex Taylor, Richard took a one-year hiatus to serve as an “executive on loan.”

Richard received a Governor James M. Cox Award June 19 for exemplifying our company’s value of “Do the Right Thing. Always.”

“It takes courage to leave a great job and do something that is very risky,” said Alex, who presented the award. “He has done a phenomenal job.”

As COO, Richard was tasked with overseeing critical functions such as aviation, police, parks & recreation and public works. Atlantans have Richard to thank for how smoothly the Superbowl went in February, for police officer pay raises, and for helping navigate a cyberattack that shut down the city, according to Bottoms.

“I knew that he would do a spectacular job, but he surpassed all of my expectations,” said Bottoms.

Richard returned to Cox Automotive in July, armed with invaluable leadership experience.

“When we think about politics, we think about how complex it is, how many different relationships you have and the nuances of navigating that to get things done,” said Joey Yates, senior business development director for Cox Automotive. “A lot of that is applicable for a large corporation.”

Richard said he was "overwhelmed” upon learning that he would receive the award.  

“I'm the type of leader, I believe that you just chop wood. You just do your best every single day and I never did anything for accolades,” said Richard. “To be presented with the award is absolutely humbling and just makes me proud to work for a company like this.” 


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