Barkley has served as plant manager for the past four years.
About 50 area business leaders, politicians, board members, community activists and Chamber members said a fond farewell to Barkley and gave a warm welcome to Cobb at the event.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland also gave Barkley a key to the city and made him an honorary citizen of Cleveland.
Barkley has a new job with Duracell as its global supply chain leader in Bethel, Conn. The new position means greater responsibility for Barkley, who will oversee the production planning of Duracell’s international supply network, as well as assist in helping Duracell grow.
While the Cleveland plant manager, Barkley was responsible for all manufacturing and support organizations for the manufacturing and packaging facilities.
In addition, Barkley also was appointed as interim plant manager for the LaGrange, Ga., Duracell plant from Oct. 1, 2011, to Feb. 1, 2012.
While in Cleveland, Barkley has achieved record results in safety, quality, customer service and cost reduction.
Barkley started with P&G in 1982 at the Albany, Ga., Charmin Paper plant. He has worked in several locations throughout the U.S. with various job responsibilities, including operations management, product launch management, production planning systems, and global quality assurance management.
He also has worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority, M&M Mars, and Michelin Tire Corp. of North America.
Barkley graduated with a degree in math from Morehouse College and a degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
He lives in Ooltewah with his wife, Dr. Reba Barkley, a professor at Lee University, and two daughters.
“I have enjoyed my time as plant manager in Cleveland,” said Barkley. “It has provided the opportunity for me to learn the battery business and work with great people. This new role as the global supply chain leader for Duracell will allow me to not only impact the Cleveland plant, but also the global Duracell business.”
Barkley served on several community boards locally, including the United Way, Chamber, Cleveland State Community College Foundation, Junior Achievement and the Boys & Girls Clubs. He also was involved in several other community organizations, such as the 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc.
“Cleveland and Bradley County are wonderful places to live ... I will remember most how the people in Cleveland and Bradley County pulled together during the tornadoes of 2011 ... I am so excited in how people worked together,” Barkley said.
“The spirit of our Cleveland Duracell family and the entire community was demonstrated through our compassion and commitment to taking care of those in need. ... Cleveland is an awesome place.”
Cobb has proven expertise in attaining increased production results, a detailed knowledge of Duracell’s supply chain, and an innate ability to help develop the skills and potential of her employees.
“I plan to build on Bill’s foundation,” she said, “expand on his results and to (continue to) grow the business.”
Cobb was born in Atlanta and holds a dual degree from Spelman College and Georgia Tech, from which she graduated in 1989 with a degree in computer science. She is delighted to be closer to her mother, who still lives in Atlanta.
“It’s good to be here,” Cobb said. “I’m excited about being in Cleveland.”
Cobb has worked at Procter & Gamble for 22 years, starting at the Ivorydale Soap plant in Cincinnati. Since, she has worked in various jobs, including quality assurance, engineering, program management and logistics.
For the last two years, Cobb has worked as the global pet care associate director in Cincinnati. Over the years, she has worked in operations manager assignments for the Powder Cosmetics Supply Chain and led plant facilities in Pet Care in Lewisburg, Ohio, and Aurora, Neb.
Cobb is married to Henry Drake, who is a P&G retiree. She likes to ski, read, travel and play golf.