TO: ALL EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE
Based on my ongoing review of operations and plans for the North America SBU and my recent conversations with bottlers, customers and key leadership in the business, I have every confidence that the current year will be a success. Our business plans are sound and achievable, and our system is working together to execute them with passion.
When Doug asked me last December to assume direct leadership of Coca-Cola North America and oversee strategic direction of the unit’s operating performance, our intention always was to appoint, at the right time, a president to assume day-to-day management.
Today, I am pleased to announce that Don Knauss has been named president of the North America SBU. Don will report to me. Don brings unmatched skills, leadership and relationships to the job, along with heartfelt belief in the culture we are instilling across our flagship operating unit.
Reporting to Don will be Chris Lowe, president of Foodservice and Hospitality, Javier Benito, chief marketing officer for North America, and Melody Justice, senior vice president of Strategy and Planning. As outlined in an announcement last December, other North America functions will report to their Corporate leadership to maintain the strong integration of our Atlanta-based community.
Don joined the Company in 1994 as senior vice president of marketing for The Minute Maid Company, and was named senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Division in 1996. Don served for nearly two years as president of the Southern Africa Division, managing the Company’s business in 10 countries of Southern Africa. He was named president and chief executive officer of The Minute Maid Company in 2000, and became president of the Retail Division of Coca-Cola North America in 2003. Don served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps; he received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Indiana University. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the United States Marine Corps University Foundation and the Board of Trustees for Camp Coca-Cola.
North America is our largest business unit and a flagship for the system, and I will continue to be deeply involved in overseeing its operations. I truly enjoy working with our people in the North America system. I know you will join me in giving Don and his team your full support.
The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s best-known brand, the Company markets four of the world’s top five soft drink brands, including diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light soft drinks, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees and sports drinks. Through the world’s largest distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate exceeding 1 billion servings each day.
This press release may contain statements, estimates or projections that constitute “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Generally, the words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “project,” “will” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which generally are not historical in nature. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from The Coca-Cola Company’s historical experience and our present expectations or projections. These risks include, but are not limited to, changes in economic and political conditions; changes in the nonalcoholic beverages business environment, including actions of competitors and changes in consumer preferences; product boycotts; foreign currency and interest rate fluctuations; adverse weather conditions; the effectiveness of our advertising and marketing programs; fluctuations in the cost and availability of raw materials; our ability to achieve earnings forecasts; regulatory and legal changes; our ability to penetrate developing and emerging markets; litigation uncertainties; and other risks discussed in our Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including our Annual Report on Form 10-K, which filings are available from the SEC. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. The Coca-Cola Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.com.