The Coca-Cola Company announces senior leadership succession plan

James Quincey to succeed Muhtar Kent as CEO in May 2017. Mr Kent to continue as chairman.

The Coca-Cola Company has announced that 20-year company veteran, James Quincey, president and COO, will succeed its chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent as CEO from May 2017.

The company’s board of directors will also nominate Mr Quincey for election as a director at the April 2017 Annual Shareowners Meeting and Mr Kent will continue as chairman of the board.

The recommendation for an evolution of the company’s senior leadership structure was put to the board by Mr Kent and unanimously approved.

Mr Kent said that managing the company to ensure long-term growth requires a thoughtful and orderly succession planning process.

“I have been engaged with our management development committee and the full board on talent development and succession discussions throughout my tenure as CEO.  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.

“It has been the most wonderful and unique privilege to serve as chairman and CEO of our great company over the past eight years. This transition comes at a time of important evolution for The Coca-Cola Company. Our journey to refocus on our core business model of building strong global brands, enhancing sustainable customer value and leading a strong, dedicated franchise system is well under way. During James’ time as president and COO, he has further demonstrated his deep understanding of the dynamics of our business and what it takes to win in the marketplace,” Mr Kent said.

The company’s independent lead director Sam Nunn thanked Mr Kent for his outstanding leadership and dedication to the company.

“Muhtar has been a true visionary who led the company through sustained growth and set the stage for the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead. Muhtar has consistently put the next decade in front of the next quarter and laid a solid foundation for his successor and the shareowners. Among his many achievements, Muhtar has built a world-class leadership team and we are fortunate to have a leader with James’ capabilities as our next CEO.”

Mr Nunn also expressed the board’s confidence in the appointment of Mr Quincey: “James is a proven leader who is passionate about developing people, building strong teams and creating winning cultures everywhere he has been. 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 Company.

“We are fortunate that Muhtar will continue as chairman and James has agreed to run the business as president and CEO. The combination will ensure the continued success their partnership has brought to the company over the last 16 months,” Mr Nunn said.

Mr Quincey has held the position of president and COO since August 2015 and has worked at a senior level across a variety of the company’s business portfolios after joining the company in 1996.

“I am truly honored and humbled to lead this great company into the future,” said Mr Quincey. “Muhtar has been a catalyst for change at The Coca-Cola Company – 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.”

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