ATLANTA – The Coca-Cola Co. is splitting its North America business into two operating units: Coca-Cola North America, a traditional company, and Coca-Cola Refreshments, a bottling operations unit. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the new structure will help Coca-Cola streamline operations and accelerate its refranchising to independent bottling partners.
J.A.M. “Sandy” Douglas, global chief customer officer and senior vice-president, will lead Coca-Cola North America as group president. Paul Mulligan, head of commercial for Bottling Investments Group (B.I.G.) and region director for Japan and Latin America bottling operations, has been named president of Coca-Cola Refreshments.
Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas, has announced his departure from the company to pursue other opportunities. The Coca-Cola Americas operating structure will cease to exist, and the Latin America Group will become part of Coca-Cola International.
“Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of the business announced last year when the company consolidated leadership of its global operations under the Bottling Investments Group, Coca-Cola International, and Coca-Cola Americas,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer. “We organized the business to intensify focus on key markets, streamline reporting lines and provide flexibility to adjust the business within these geographies in the future. Now, we are in a position to leverage this flexibility to return to a traditional company and bottling operating model in North America, which will enhance our focus on execution and accelerate the refranchising of our bottling system in our flagship market.”
A system veteran since 1988, Mr. Douglas previously was president of Coca-Cola North America and began his career with the company as a district sales manager for the food service division of Coca-Cola USA.
Mr. Mulligan joined the Coca-Cola system in Hellenic Romania Field Sales before becoming general manager of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. North West Romania. His career also includes positions as commercial director of Romania, country manager of Bulgaria and country general manger of Switzerland.“Sandy and Paul are proven leaders with extensive system experience, and they will make a great team,” Mr. Kent said. “Sandy knows the U.S. business as well as any beverage executive and has played an integral leadership role in implementing our 21st Century beverage partnership model in the U.S. Paul is a very strong operator who brings 17 years of U.S. and international bottling experience to this new role. And Paul will have the benefit of working closely with Irial, whose leadership of B.I.G. has significantly improved the performance of our company-owned bottling operations around the world.”