Coca-Cola's new chief executive has assumed direct control of the company's human resources department. The move, announced yesterday, signals an attempt by Neville Isdell to improve morale within Coke.

Isdell, who took over from Doug Daft on Monday, said he made the move so that he could guide development of the company's workforce, which he described as "its most valuable resource."

In a memo announcing the change, Isdell said: "It is the responsibility of leadership, and my personal commitment, to refine, develop and enhance our people programs to ensure that we are truly world class in unleashing the power of our people."

Isdell also named a new director of human resources yesterday. Cynthia McCague will replace Coretha Rushing, who announced her resignation in February.