US: Coke overhauls relationship with bottlers
The Coca-Cola Company said today that it would be appointing Irial Finan, recently chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, to manage the company's investments in its bottlers round the world.
As president of bottling investments, a newly established position, Finan will also be resonsible for running the operations of Company-owned bottlers around the world. In total, these combined investments in Coca-Cola bottlers have a current market value of more than US$11 billion.
Finan was most recently chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company SA, and has spent 23 years working within the Coca-Cola bottling system. He will report to E. Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer. It is expected that Finan will serve on the boards of directors of certain of the company's equity investments and coordinate the company's board representation with others.
The general managers of the Company-owned bottlers will report to Finan effective August 1, 2004.
Isdell said: "Irial is a world-class executive with a proven track record of achievement in the beverage industry. We are absolutely delighted he will be assuming this vital role, which, in itself, underscores the critical importance of bottler success all around the world.
"This appointment and structure will result in a totally new model for managing our consolidated bottling investments by creating what is essentially an internal bottler that will interact with our concentrate business in the same way as our independent bottlers. In the past, I do not believe we have managed our significant investment in bottling through the prism of a bottler.
"This new structure underscores my strong belief that we must view our Company-owned bottling operations as strategic investments. Such a significant change in orientation requires leadership of exceptional skill and experience. Irial is uniquely qualified to build and optimize the strategic asset our bottling operations represent and to realize our vision for them.
"Under Irial's leadership, we will bring a true investment perspective to the bottlers where we hold significant equity and a greater focus to managing our Company-owned bottling operations. Additionally, our operating leaders will now be free to devote their full attention to our marketing, innovation, and relationship-building efforts in all of our markets. Irial is a unique asset to the Coca-Cola family, and we are delighted to have him join us here in Atlanta," Isdell said.
Finan said: "I am very pleased to return to the Coca-Cola family and to put my experience and knowledge of the system back to work. Our business is about providing great products to our customers and consumers. The key to doing this is to have great people executing in the marketplace in a world- class way. I'm happy to be a part of what I believe will be a very exciting future for our system."
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