Keough joined Coca-Cola in 1960

Keough joined Coca-Cola in 1960

The Coca-Cola Co's former president & COO Donald Keough is to retire from the company's board at the age of 86.

Keough, who served as president & COO from 1981 to 1993, will not stand for re-election at Coca-Cola's annual shareholders meeting in April, the company said yesterday (21 February). Former Coca-Cola director James Williams, 79, will also retire from the board at the meeting, Coca-Cola said.

Keough joined Coca-Cola in 1960 when it acquired the company he worked for, Butter-Nut Coffee. During his tenure, Keough helped steer Coca-Cola through the “cola wars” of the 1980s, when soft drinks companies increased marketing spend in a fight for market share. Keough also served as head of The Coca-Cola Foods Division from 1971 to 1973.

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said: “Many of our current Coca-Cola leaders learned this business under Don, and I have personally benefited from his guidance, mentorship and friendship for more than 30 years.”

Earlier this month, Coca-Cola posted a strong set of full-year results despite continuing problems in Europe.