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Coca-Cola appoints Brian Smith as new chief operating officer

October 19, 2018
Consumer Packaged Goods

The Coca-Cola Company has named Brian Smith as its new chief operating officer, a post which has been vacant since James Quincey became CEO last year.

Meanwhile, the firm also announced that current chief financial officer Kathy Walker will retire next year, to be replaced by John Murphy, the president of Coca-Cola’s Asia Pacific unit.

Brian Smith joined the company in 1997. His prior roles include serving as president of both the Brazil and Mexico divisions before being named group president for Latin America. He was named to his current position as group president of Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2016.

During his time in the role, Smith has overseen the transition integration of the Europe, Eurasia and Africa groups into one operating unit. As group president of Latin America he led the acquisitions of brands such as AdeS in Argentina and Santa Clara in Mexico.

Coke said his appointment will allow Quincey, who has served as CEO since May 2017, to focus on the overall long-term strategic direction of the company. Smith’s appointment will be effective 1 January 2019.

“I have tremendous respect for Brian, who is a valued business partner,” Quincey said. “He is the ideal person to steer the in-market executional leadership of the company, which will allow me to focus on the strategic direction of Coca-Cola as we continue to evolve as a total beverage company.”

Chief financial officer transition

Kathy Waller will retire from her role as chief financial officer March next year, following 32 years with Coca-Cola.

The company said Waller, who assumed the CFO role in 2014, “has been instrumental in transforming, modernising and simplifying the Coca-Cola finance function”.

“I join everyone at Coca-Cola in thanking Kathy for her many years of exemplary service to the company,” said James Quincey. “She leaves a great legacy as a leader, including as a mentor who created a strong organisation and put the building blocks in place to continue to transform and modernise our finance function. John will be a great fit as our new CFO, thanks to his broad experience in both finance and as an operational leader.”

Waller’s successor, John Murphy, will become deputy CFO on 1 January 2019 before being elevated to CFO on 16 March 2019.

Murphy took his current role as head of the Asia Pacific group in 2016. He is also responsible for the company’s Bottling Investments Group, which is primarily focused on key markets in Southeast and Southwest Asia.

As CFO, Murphy will be responsible for leading the company’s global finance organisation, including mergers and acquisitions; investor relations; tax; treasury; audit; accounting and controls; financial reporting; real estate; and risk management.

Alongside these appointments, Coke has also announced that Nancy Quan will become chief technical officer, effective 2019. She currently serves as chief technical officer for Coca-Cola North America. Quan will succeed Ed Hays, who will retire from the company on 31 March 2019.

Source: FoodBev

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