Coca-Cola creates new global structure, announces key management changes

Coca-Cola Company, on Tuesday, announced the creation of a new global structure meant to better align its operating units against its global bottling footprint. The beverage giant also announced a number of key management changes to its international leadership structure.

President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Coke, James Quincey, said: “As we continue to implement our five strategic actions for growth it is critical that our organizational structures enable the speed, agility and inspirational leadership that are necessary to win today and in the future. The changes we are announcing today streamline our international structure, and reflect strong talent succession and a commitment to developing the next generation of leaders at our company. “

As part of the new changes, the company announced the creation of a Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Group to replace the current Europe and Eurasia and Africa groups. Brian Smith, who is currently the President of the Latin America Group, will head the new EMEA.

In Africa, two new business units will be reconfigured to more closely align the business with bottling operations on the continent. The new business units will be South and East Africa Business Unit and a West Africa Business Unit.

Kelvin Balogun, currently President of Central, East and West Africa (CEWA), will become President of the new South and East Africa Group, while Peter Njonjo, who is the current General Manager of the East Africa Franchise in CEWA, will become the President of the reconstituted West Africa Business Unit.

The soft drinks giant further said that the current President of the Eurasia and Africa Group, Nathan Kalumbu, will focus on key initiatives across Africa business including the Africa bottler consolidation until the end of the year when he will retire.

Similarly, Atul Singh, who currently heads the Asia Pacific Group, will be replaced by John Murphy, the current head of the South Latin Group.

Coke is creating the new structures to help boost profits and revenue amid lagging sales. The company reported flat sales in its first quarter, dragged-down by a weakening global economy and health concerns by consumers about sugary drinks.

Mr. Quincey, who is leading the structural and management changes, is looking more like the man to replace Muhtar Kent, the current CEO of Coke.

The company declined on Tuesday to comment on speculations on a succession plan.

In a question and answer posted on the company’s website Mr. Quincy said the structure is meant to bring “freshness” to markets. “A fresh pair of eyes is a good thing; stability is also a good thing. It’s important to strike a balance between the two,” he added.

In the last few years, Coca-Cola has been consolidating its operations world-wide by re-engineering mergers among its bottlers in an effort to cut costs and boost revenue and profits. The soft drinks maker has also been refocusing efforts in its profitable concentrate business, while leaving the bottling and distribution operations to franchises.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, the European group bottler of the newly formed Coca-Cola European Partners voted on Tuesday to approve the merger which would create the largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola products by revenue world-wide.

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