Coca-Cola shakes up international structure

by Eric Schroeder
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Coca-Cola Co. bottling plant
The Coca-Cola Co. has unveiled a new streamlined international structure designed to better align its operating units against its global bottling footprint.
ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Co. has unveiled a new streamlined international structure designed to better align its operating units against its global bottling footprint. The changes include the promotion of several key Coca-Cola leaders.
 
Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola
Muhtar Kent, chairman and c.e.o. of Coca-Cola
“Today’s announcement outlines important changes to our international operating structure that better support our evolving bottler footprint and demonstrate the deep bench of management experience we are fortunate to have in the Coca-Cola system,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer. “These moves will continue to lay the foundation for strong leadership and management continuity.”

International operating structure and leadership changes, effective Aug. 1 (unless otherwise noted), include:

Europe, Middle East and Africa Group. The company said it will form a Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Group, consisting of the business units that currently make up the Europe and the Eurasia and Africa Groups.

In Europe, the Central and Southern Europe and Russia, Ukraine and Belarus business units will be combined into a new business unit — Central and Eastern Europe — to better support the bottling footprint in that region, the company said. In Africa, Coca-Cola said two business units will be reconfigured to more closely align operations with bottling operations on the continent, with the formation of a new South and East Africa business unit and a West Africa business unit.

Brian Smith, currently president of the company’s Latin America Group, will become president of the EMEA Group. Mr. Smith is a 19-year Coca-Cola veteran who has past roles as division president of Brazil and business unit president for Mexico.

Mr. Smith’s leadership team will include: Dan Sayre, who will continue as president, Western Europe; Nikos Koumettis, who will expand his existing role to become president, Central and Eastern Europe; Kelvin Balogun, currently president Central, East and West Africa (CEWA), who will become president, South and East Africa; Zoran Vucinic, currently president, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, who will become president, Middle East and North Africa; Galya Molinas, who will continue in her role as president, Turkey, Caucasus and Central Asia; and Peter Njonjo, currently general manager of the East Africa franchise in CEWA, who will become president of the new West Africa business unit.

As the new EMEA Group is created, Nathan Kalumbu, currently president, Eurasia and Africa Group, will focus on key initiatives across the Africa business, including the Africa bottler consolidation, as well as serve on a number of boards, until he retires from the company effective Dec. 31, 2016.

Latin America Group. Alfredo Rivera, currently president of the Latin Center business unit, will become president, Latin America Group. Mr. Rivera is a 19-year veteran of the Coca-Cola system who has held both company and bottler leadership positions throughout his career in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil and Ecuador.

Mr. Rivera’s leadership team will include: Francisco Crespo, who will continue as president, Mexico; Henrique Braun, currently president, Greater China and Korea, who will become president, Brazil, effective Sept. 1; Therese Gearhart, currently president, Southern Africa, who will succeed Mr. Rivera as president, Latin Center; Joao Marcelo Ramires, currently vice-president — franchise operations, Brazil, who will become president, South Latin; and Xiemar Zarazua, currently president, Brazil, who will become vice-president, strategic ventures for Latin America, effective Sept. 1.

Asia Pacific Group. John Murphy, currently president of the South Latin business unit, will become president, Asia Pacific Group. Mr. Murphy has held senior company and bottling roles in a number of markets during his 28-year career, including Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and North America, in addition to roles in Latin America.

Mr. Murphy’s leadership team will include: Curt Ferguson, currently president, Middle East and North Africa, who will become president, Greater China and Korea, effective Sept. 1; Iain McLaughlin, who will continue as president, ASEAN; Tim Brett, who will continue as president, Japan; Roberto Mercade, who will continue as president, South Pacific; and Venkatesh Kini, who will continue as president, India and Southwest Asia. Atul Singh, currently president of the Asia Pacific Group, will transition to the role of chairman, Asia Pacific Group. Mr. Singh will continue to focus on managing a number of key stakeholders, government relations, key merger and acquisition initiatives, as well as continuing to serve on a number of boards, until March 2017 when he will retire from the company. 
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