Coke to Split N. America Business in Two

The Coca-Cola Company today announced management and organizational changes related to Coca-Cola Americas with a purpose to accelerate growth. 

Following the reorganization of the company’s operating structure last year, the Coke s taking further action to streamline its focus and expedite its refranchising to independent bottling partners. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the integrated North America business will be segmented into a traditional company and bottler operating model that it says will better suit the unique needs of the North America market. It will consist of two operating units: Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola Refreshments.

As a result, the following leadership changes will take place:

  • Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) will be led by J. A. M. “Sandy” Douglas, as group president, reporting to Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. Douglas also will continue his role as global chief customer officer. In this role, North America Brands, Foodservice, Brand Commercial, Retail Sales, Research & 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 be led by Paul Mulligan, as President, CCR. CCR will become part of the Bottling Investments Group (BIG) and Mulligan will report to Irial Finan, president of BIG. Mulligan is currently head of commercial for BIG, and region director responsible for Japan and Latin America BIG operations. In his new role, CCR Canada, Product Supply Chain and Service, Bottler Commercial, Customer Care and Region Sales will report to Mulligan.
  • The North America Enabling Functions will continue to support both CCNA and CCR.
  • Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas, has decided to leave the Company to pursue other opportunities. 
  • The Coca-Cola Americas operating structure will cease to exist. 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. 

“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,” says Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “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.

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.”

Added Kent: “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.  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.

“Finally, I would like to thank Steve Cahillane for his many contributions to the North American business,” adds Kent.  “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.”

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