With President and COO James Quincey set to take over as CEO of The Coca-Cola Company on May 1, the beverage giant today announced that several other executive moves will also go into effect on the new chief executive’s first day.
Among those who will report directly to Quincey: Francisco Crespo, Coca-Cola’s current President of the Mexico business unit, who will be promoted to Chief Growth Officer, a new position which combines global marketing, customer and commercial leadership, and strategy. Current Vice President of R&D Robert Long will become Chief Innovation Officer. Chief Information Officer Barry Simpson will remain in his role, but will now report directly to the CEO.
“Today’s organizational announcement is another building block in our company’s transformational journey,” Quincey said in a press release. “We are moving quickly to structure our organization for faster growth and to ensure we can respond to the fast-changing needs of our consumers, customers, system and associates around the world. Each of the leaders named today is highly capable and understands our clear mandate for change, and I look forward to partnering with them as we transform our business for the future.”
In a Wells Fargo Securities report issued today, analyst Bonnie Herzog said the changes “piggy-back” off of a recent presentation made by Quincey at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York where he stated his intention to transform The Coca-Cola Company “into a total beverage company” with a newly organized, consumer-centric product portfolio.
“On a high level, it appears that [The Coca-Cola Company] is reorganizing its business to increase focus on R&D/innovation and technology which we believe is positive and places it in a stronger position for the future,” Herzog wrote. “By including three new direct reports to the CEO role focused on growth, innovation, and digital, Quincey’s priorities are clear: to reaccelerate growth in [The Coca-Cola Company] through new products and better engagement with customers and consumers.”
Herzog added that Quincey appears primed to reaccelerate growth and will likely be able to make good on the leadership overhaul.
Meanwhile, three senior Coca-Cola executives have announced their retirement, including Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Marcos de Quinto, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer Ceree Eberly, and Senior Vice President and Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer Clyde Tuggle.
Quincey’s Chief of Staff Jennifer Mann will become the company’s Chief People Officer and Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Bea Perez will become Chief of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer. In addition, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kathy Waller, who assumes the additional title of President of Enabling Service.
Although Wells Fargo was optimistic about the leadership changes, Herzog called de Quinto’s retirement “a loss,” as the 35-year Coca-Cola veteran had designed several recent successful ad campaigns. Quincey praised the executives for their “legacy of strong leadership and wise counsel.”
“We enter this next chapter of our history on the shoulders of so many great leaders who have come before us,” Quincey continued. “We are grateful to Marcos, Ceree and Clyde for their nearly 90 years of combined service to the company. We wish them each the best as they retire.”