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Coca-Cola Makes Major Leadership Change

The man who led the move to smaller package sizes to take over as CEO

ATLANTA -- The Coca-Cola Co. announced a restructuring today with the goal of setting up the company to meet its long-term goals of growth and evolution.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent will step down from the position of CEO but maintain the chairman position effective May 1, 2017. Company veteran James Quincey, president and chief operating officer, will succeed Kent as CEO.

“Managing the Coca-Cola Co. to ensure our long-term growth requires a thoughtful and orderly succession planning process,” said Kent, who recommended the restructuring to the full Board of Directors. “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."

Kent, who has held the CEO position since 2008, said the board has been active in developing "the next generation of leaders" for the company. "James is a perfect example of our talent pipeline in action,” he said.

“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," Kent said. "James has the strategic vision and inspirational leadership to usher in the next phase of growth for our great business."

Kent said the transition comes at an important time for the Coca-Cola Co.

"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 underway," he said. "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.”

Quincey, 51, was named Coca-Cola Co.’s president and COO in August 2015. Earlier this year, he put in place a new international operating structure and leadership team to make the company more efficient and effective at the local levels. He joined the company in 1996 as director, learning strategy, for the Latin America Group.

Throughout his career at Coca-Cola, Quincey has shown leadership in addressing consumer changes by expanding product offerings, introducing smaller package sizes, and most recently, driving systematic portfolio reformulation to reduce added sugar with more than 200 initiatives in progress, according to the company.

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