Coca-Cola Says CEO James Quincey to Succeed Retiring Muhtar Kent as Chairman

(Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Co. said that Chief Executive Officer James Quincey will take over as chairman for Muhtar Kent, who will retire in April. This is another orderly management move at a company that’s made a point of keeping drama to a minimum.

Key Insights

  • Quincey, whose mission has been to diversify beyond soft drinks, will get more control in his quest to turn Coke into a “total beverage company.” Despite persistent declines in revenue in recent years, shareholders have supported his efforts to make the company leaner and more versatile.
  • This is the latest reshuffling at the top levels. In October, Coca-Cola named a new chief operating officer, Brian Smith, giving the company a top deputy as Quincey focuses on strategy amid declines in soda consumption.
  • Coke also named Maria Elena Lagomasino as lead independent director to succeed Sam Nunn, who’ll retire after a 22-year tenure as a Coca-Cola director. Lagomasino, who’s been on the board herself for a decade, leads a family office and is on the board of Walt Disney Co.

Market Reacton

  • Coca-Cola shares fell 1.5 percent to $48.83 at 11:14 a.m. in New York amid a broader market decline. The company’s stock has advanced about 13 percent since Quincey took over in May of 2017 -- more than the S&P 500 over the same period.

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