Coca-Cola announces leadership change; CEO Muhtar Kent to Step down next year

The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) announced on Friday that Muhtar Kent, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will step down in May next year, and to be succeeded by James Quincey, the company’s current president and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Kent who has been the CEO since 2008 will remain chairman.

As chief executive, he spearheaded the beverage giant’s move to diversify its product portfolio towards healthier drink alternatives. He also led the company’s biggest acquisitions to date such as its purchase of Energy Brands, makers of Vitamin water, and its taking of a minority stake in Monster Beverage Corp, manufacturer of energy drinks. More closer to home, he was instrumental in Coke’s acquiring a 40% stake in Tropical General Investments Group (TGI Group), owners of Chi Ltd, Nigeria’s largest juice maker. Kent also engineered the global consolidation of the soft drink giant’s bottling operations and the ongoing refranchising of its entire U.S. operations.

Quincey, 51, joined the soft drinks maker in 1996 and has been president and chief operating officer (COO) since August 2015. He has been entrusted with forging a new path for the soda giant as consumers turn away from sugary drinks and toward healthier alternatives.

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,” Kent said in a statement.

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