Cott integrates business units to cut costs

by Eric Schroeder
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TORONTO — Cott Corp. announced it has created fully-integrated business units and customer development teams that will allow for further cost reduction as well as improved connections with major customers. The move is part of an effort to strengthen Cott’s retail partnerships in the beverage industry.

As part of the change, Cott said it will merge the roles of North American business unit president and chief manufacturing and supply chain officer. Concurrent with this change, newly-created customer development and solutions teams, including dedicated marketing and supply chain resources for customers, will replace the previous, more traditional sales structure.

"These teams will become the new customer-facing organization and will enable better service and growth with major retailer partners," Cott said.

Rick Dobry, currently chief manufacturing and supply chain officer, will take on the role of president, North America. Mr. Dobry has more than 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry with such companies as Kraft Foods Inc., Tropicana and Diageo.

Also as part of the realignment, and concurrent with the last step in office closings and the consolidation of the senior leadership team in Tampa, Fla., Mark Halperin, chief legal and ethics officer and corporate secretary, John Dennehy, president, North America business unit, and Kerry Morgan, vice-president, corporate communications will be departing the company following a brief transition period.

Cott said the personnel changes will result in a charge of approximately $8 million in the second quarter and form part of restructuring costs previously announced in October 2006. The changes are expected to result in a similar level of savings over a 12-month period.

"Mark, John, and Kerry have done a great job for Cott over many years," said Brent Willis, chief executive officer. "The company owes them a debt of gratitude for their service, dedication, and significant positive impact. On behalf of the Cott board of directors and all of its employees, we wish to express our sincere appreciation to each departing employee for their contributions and commitment to the company."

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