US: Coke marketing chief Minnick quits

By | 19 January 2007

The Coca-Cola Co. has suffered a setback with the resignation of Mary Minnick, chief of marketing, strategy and innovation.

Minnick, 47, has left the US beverage giant after 23 years at the company "to pursue a combination of professional and personal goals" in the UK.

Speculation that Minnick would leave Coke started to build after the company named Muhtar Kent as president and chief operating officer late last year, making him the most likely successor to Coke chairman and CEO Neville Isdell.

One analyst in the US played down the impact Minnick's departure would have on the Coke empire.

"When Mr Kent was named COO in December, we said that we believed a possible departure of Ms Minnick was manageable," Mark Swartzberg, an analyst at US investment bank Stifel Nicolaus wrote in a note to clients. 

"We continue to hold that view since Ms Minnick is not a line manager and improved marketing and innovation is the focus and responsibility of multiple executives, including CEO Neville Isdell."

For his part, Isdell called Minnick a "tremendous asset" to the company. He said: "Under her leadership, the marketing, strategy and innovation team has launched numerous breakthrough brands, concepts, technologies, packages and adjacent businesses, including Coca-Cola Blak, Far Coast, Enviga and Gold Peak.

Isdell added: "Importantly, many of these innovations not only further our short-term development in the sparkling soft drink category, but also open up new categories, equipment platforms and ingredient innovations that will provide an enduring pipeline of innovation for years to come."

Coke has yet to announce a successor to Minnick but is likely to name her replacement in the coming weeks.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Coke, Coca-Cola Co

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