Former Woodruff CEO Doug Shipman jumping into Atlanta council president race

Doug Shipman.

Credit: Tiffany Powell

Credit: Tiffany Powell

Doug Shipman.

The field of candidates vying to be the next leader of the Atlanta City Council is growing.

Doug Shipman, the former president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, filed the necessary paperwork this week to fundraise for a campaign to become the next council president.

Shipman, who was also the founding CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, joins Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong and former Atlanta Public Schools board chair Courtney English in the contest to replace Felicia Moore as head of the city’s legislative body.

Moore, the current council president, is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, meaning her post will be open on the November ballot.

While he has not held elected office before, Shipman said in an interview Thursday that his work in the private and civic sectors would serve him well in building consensus among the council.

“My experiences around bringing people together to really make these big kinds of things happen, I think I can serve that role on council,” said Shipman, an Arkansas native who lives in the Old Fourth Ward.

After helping to guide the creation of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Shipman became president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center. AJC File

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He plans to formally launch his campaign in the coming weeks and unveil specific policy proposals at that time.

Shipman previously shepherded the civil rights museum through a decade of planning and fundraising and led it for a year after it opened downtown in 2014. He became the leader of the arts center in 2017, and announced last summer that he was leaving that position.

“As we come out of COVID, as we move forward, I think it’s a really important time. It think it’ll be an important election and I’m excited to bring some ideas to it,” Shipman said.

The council president is in charge of leading meetings; they cannot introduce legislation and only vote in the event of a tie.