'What Happened to Steve?'

Coca-Cola announces BIG changes; Americas operating structure will cease to exist

Steve Cahillane

Steve Cahillane

ATLANTA -- To accelerate growth, The Coca-Cola Co. has announced sweeping management and organizational changes. Among other major developments, Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas, has decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

Following the reorganization of its operating structure last year, the company is 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 will better suit the 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 will also 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 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.

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," 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 said. "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."