James Quincy, Coca-Cola
James Quincey, president and c.o.o. of Coca-Cola, will succeed Muhtar Kent as c.e.o., effective May 1, 2017.

ATLANTA — James Quincey, president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola Co., will succeed Muhtar Kent as chief executive officer, effective May 1, 2017, the company announced on Dec. 9. Mr. Kent will continue as chairman of the board of directors. The board plans to nominate Mr. Quincey to stand for election as a director at the company’s annual shareowners meeting in April.

Mr. Kent, who began his career with the Coca-Cola Co. in 1978, has held his position as chairman and c.e.o. since April 2009. Previously he was president and c.e.o., and earlier, president and c.o.o.

“Managing the Coca-Cola Co. to ensure our long-term growth requires a thoughtful and orderly succession planning process,” Mr. Kent said. “I have been engaged with our Management Development Committee and the full board on talent development and succession discussions throughout my tenure as c.e.o. We are certain that James Quincey is prepared for these new responsibilities and is the absolute right choice to lead our company and system into the future.

“One of our board’s key priorities is developing the next generation of leaders, and James is a perfect example of our talent pipeline in action. Having worked closely with James during the past 10 years of his 20-year career with our company, I know that his vast industry knowledge, expertise with our brands, values and system, coupled with an acute understanding of evolving consumer tastes, make him the ideal candidate to effectively lead our company and bottling system. James has the strategic vision and inspirational leadership to usher in the next phase of growth for our great business.”

Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola
Muhtar Kent, c.e.o. of Coca-Cola will step down May 1, 2017.

Mr. Quincey joined Coca-Cola in 1996 as director, learning strategy for the Latin America Group, and served in a series of operational roles of increasing responsibility in Latin America, eventually becoming president of the South Latin Division in 2003. From 2005 to 2008, he was president of the Mexico division, and from 2008 to 2012 he was president of the Northwest Europe & Nordics Business Unit. He was named president of the company’s Europe Group in 2013 and advanced to his current role as president and c.o.o. of the Coca-Cola Co. in August 2015.

Earlier this year, Mr. Quincey established a new international operating structure and leadership team to help operating units become faster and more agile. During his tenure, he has driven initiatives to address consumer changes, including expanding product offerings, introducing smaller package sizes and reducing added sugar across Coca-Cola’s portfolio.

“I am truly honored and humbled to lead this great company into the future,” Mr. Quincey said. “Muhtar has been a catalyst for change at The Coca-Cola Co. — driving the transformation of our global bottling system, expanding our product portfolio and making sustainability a business imperative. I am committed to continuing my strong partnership with Muhtar, our talented management team and associates, and our valued bottling partners to continue this momentum and capture the enormous opportunities in front of us.”

Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Mr. Quincey was a partner in strategy consulting at The Kalchas Group, a spin-off from Bain & Co. and McKinsey. He received a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from the University of Liverpool.

“James is a proven leader who is passionate about developing people, building strong teams and creating winning cultures everywhere he has been,” said Sam Nuun, independent lead director of the Coca-Cola Co.’s board of directors. “He has the ideal combination of skills, ability and experience and we believe that there is no person more capable of leading the Coca-Cola Co.”