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Coca-Cola Announces Major Organizational Changes

ATLANTA -- The Coca-Cola Co. announced several management and organizational changes to Coca-Cola Americas with the aim of accelerating growth. Building upon the 2012 reorganization of its operating structure, Coca-Cola plans to further streamline its focus and expedite its refranchising to independent bottling partners, the company said.

Effective Jan. 1, its integrated North America business will be segmented into a traditional company and the bottler operating model consisting of two units: Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola Refreshments.

"Today's announcement represents the next step in the evolution of the business announced last year when the company consolidated leadership of its global operations under the Bottling Investments Group, Coca-Cola International and Coca-Cola Americas," said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co.

"We organized the business to intensify focus on key markets, streamline reporting lines and provide flexibility to adjust the business within these geographies in the future," he continued. "Now, we are in a position to leverage this flexibility to return to a traditional company and bottling operating model in North America, which will enhance our focus on execution and accelerate the refranchising of our bottling system in our flagship market."

Leadership changes that will occur as a result include:

  • Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) will be led by J. A. M. "Sandy" Douglas as group president. Douglas will report to Kent and continue his role as global chief customer officer. North America brands, foodservice, brand commercial, retail sales, research and development, venturing and emerging brands, strategy, franchise leadership and transformation, and the Canadian franchise operations will report to Douglas.
  • Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR), the bottling operations of North America, will become part of the Bottling Investments Group (BIG) and be led by Paul Mulligan as president. Mulligan will report to BIG President Irial Finan. Mulligan currently serves as head of commercial for BIG and region director responsible for Japan and Latin America BIG operations. CCR Canada, product supply chain and service, bottler commercial, customer care and region sales will report to Mulligan in his new role.
  • North America enabling functions will continue to support both CCNA and CCR.
  • President of Coca-Cola Americas Steve Cahillane will leave the company to pursue other opportunities.
  • The Coca-Cola Americas operating structure will cease to exist and the Latin America Group, led by Group President Brian Smith, will become part of Coca-Cola International. Smith will report to Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola International.

"Sandy and Paul are proven leaders with extensive system experience, and they will make a great team. Sandy knows the U.S. business as well as any beverage executive and has played an integral leadership role in implementing our 21st century beverage partnership model in the U.S.," Kent stated.

"Paul is a very strong operator who brings 17 years of U.S. and international bottling experience to this new role. And Paul will have the benefit of working closely with Irial, whose leadership of BIG has significantly improved the performance of our company-owned bottling operations around the world," he added.

Douglas served as president of Coca-Cola North America prior to his appointment as senior vice president and global chief customer officer of The Coca-Cola Co. He first joined the company in 1988 as a district sales manager for the foodservice division of Coca-Cola USA, and later held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility. He was named vice president of Coca-Cola USA in 1994 and assumed leadership of the CCE sales and marketing group. Douglas was appointed president of the North America retail division in 2000.

Mulligan practiced as a certified public accountant with KPMG in Ireland and the United States before joining Coca-Cola Hellenic Romania field sales and later becoming general manager of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. North West Romania. He also served as commercial director, Romania; country manager of Bulgaria (Coca-Cola Hellenic) and founding member and chairman of Bulgaria's first licensed waste packaging recovery organization; country general manager of Switzerland; and BIG group commercial director for The Coca-Cola Co.

"Finally, I would like to thank Steve Cahillane for his many contributions to the North American business," Kent added. "Under Steve's leadership, our North America business delivered several consecutive quarters of volume and value share gains, despite operating in a very difficult economic environment the past three years. We wish him well."

The Coca-Cola Co. board of directors also elected Ed Steinike as a senior vice president and Robert J. Jordan Jr. as a vice president this week. Jordan will succeed William D. Hawkins III as general tax counsel following Hawkins' retirement in March. In his current role as chief information officer, Steinike is responsible for the company's global information technology strategy, services and operations. He has also served as chief technology officer, chief development officer and chief information officer of the North America business from 2004 to 2007.

Jordan currently serves as deputy tax counsel, focusing on international tax matters in the Pacific and Latin America Groups, and overseeing various other functions within the Corporate Tax Department, according to the company.

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