Coca-Cola Company Names New President, Fuels Succession Rumors
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Coca-Cola

On August 13, the Coca-Cola Company named 50-year-old James Quincey as the new President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the brand. This news fueled rumors that the longtime company veteran may one day step into the shoes of the world’s principal soda producer, CEO Muhtar Kent.

Executive Vice President, Ahmet C. Bozer, 55, prior to the announcement of his retirement, was massively believed to succeed Kent. However, Bozer will continue to serve as one of the company’s advisers until March 2016. The new speculations are that Quincey will be the one most likely to replace 62-year-old Kent when the time comes.

Working for Coca-Cola for the past 19 years, Quincey most recently held the role of the president of Coke’s Europe Group. He filled the post in 2008 when it was vacated by Kent, who was then promoted to CEO.

Quincey played an instrumental role in leading the latest proposal to merge Coke’s various bottlers to form the unified Coca-Cola European Partners Plc. If this deal, valued to be worth around $31 billion, goes through, Coca-Cola European Partners will become the biggest independent bottler of Coca-Cola around the globe.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog praised Quincey, saying that given his global background and noteworthy deal experience, they can’t help but wonder whether Coke will “accelerate growth through stepped-up acquisitions.”

Meanwhile, Kent declined to comment on succession plans, but claimed that James Quincey’s appointment was a unanimous board decision. “Over nearly two decades, James has built an impressive track record of strategic, operational, and commercial accomplishments,” stated Kent. “He has proven to be a successful and trusted leader and brings to this position a strong reputation for developing people and inspiring teams.”

In his new role, Quincey will be primarily responsible for all of the company’s worldwide operating units and will be reporting directly to Muhtar Kent.

Sources:
“The Coca-Cola Company Names James Quincey President and Chief Operating Officer,” Coca-Cola Company web site, August 13, 2015; http://goo.gl/BUusVX.

Athavaley, A., “Coca-Cola names Quincey president, fueling succession speculation,” Reuters web site, August 13, 2015; http://goo.gl/0IfAyw.

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