Coca-Cola changes senior management, operating structure

by Staff
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ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Company is creating a new corporate function to integrate marketing, innovation and strategic growth, is realigning its group structure in Europe and is adjusting its structure for Asia and Eurasia and the Middle East, company officials announced today. The changes are effective May 1.

Mary Minnick will lead the new corporate function to oversee the close coordination of the marketing, innovation and strategic growth paths functions, said Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer. Reporting to Ms. Minnick will be Chuck Fruit, chief marketing officer; Danny Strickland, chief innovation/research and development officer; and a head of strategic growth paths yet to be named.

Ms. Minnick, a 21-year veteran at the company, has spent the past seven years living and working in Asia, including serving as president of Coca-Cola Japan.

The company also announced that Sandy Allan will retire after a distinguished career spanning almost four decades.

Upon Mr. Allan's retirement, the company will realign its geographic group structure in Europe. Mr. Allan will be working closely with the team on these efforts after May 1 to assure a smooth transition.

To better serve the growing European Union market, the company is creating a European Union Group, which will include operations in all of the current member states of the E.U. as well as the European Free Trade Association countries. It will be led by Dominique Reiniche, who was most recently president of Coca-Cola Enterprises Europe. Ms. Reiniche will continue in her current role at C.C.E. and transition responsibilities by May 1.

The company also announced the creation of two new operating groups, a North Asia, Eurasia & Middle East Group and a Southeast Asia & Pacific Rim Group.

"In Central Europe, Eurasia and Asia, there are several critical markets where the development of our business is at an important stage," Mr. Isdell said. "These include China, Russia and some significant developing markets in Eurasia and the Middle East. In many ways, the model for these markets that we hope to emulate is our business in Japan.

"To bring operational focus to these markets with similar challenges and to leverage the experience of our business in Japan, we are creating the new North Asia, Eurasia & Middle East Group. This group will include China, Japan, the Eurasia & Middle East Division, the markets of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and other European countries not in the EU Group."

Muhtar Kent, a veteran of the Coca-Cola system, has agreed to return to the company to lead this group, Mr. Isdell said. Mr. Kent will assume his position on May 1 and will work with the board of directors of the Efes Beverage Group, where he is currently president and chief executive officer, to identify his successor.

The company said that its new Southeast Asia & Pacific Rim Group will be led by Patrick Siewert, who was most recently president, East and South Asia Group. This group will include several rapidly developing markets, such as India, the Philippines and the company's Southeast & West Asia Division, which require a sustained focus on operations. It will also include the company's South Pacific & Korea Division, focusing on the Coca-Cola Amatil territories.

Ms. Minnick and Ms. Reiniche, and Messrs. Kent and Siewert, will all report directly to Mr. Isdell.

The changes announced today affect some group and divisional reporting lines, but have minimal impact on current division structures. The structure and leadership of the North America, Latin America and Africa Groups remain unchanged.

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