The president and COO of the Coca-Cola Co. has been nominated by the soft drinks group's board of directors to stand for election as a director of the company at the Annual Meeting of Shareowners in April.

Coca-Cola announced in December that Muhtar Kent will become its CEO in July.

"It is a logical and natural step for Muhtar to be nominated to the board of directors at this time as part of our orderly transition to new leadership that we announced in December," said current chairman and CEO Neville Isdell. "It will give Muhtar several months to acclimate himself with his new duties as director in advance of becoming CEO."

Kent returned to Coca-Cola in May 2005 as president of the North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and chief operating officer of the company in December 2006.

Kent first joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1978 and held a variety of marketing and operational roles leading to his appointment as president of the East Central European Division in 1989. He held this position until 1995.

From 1995 to 1998, Kent was managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil Europe with bottling operations in 12 countries. From 1999 until his return to the company, Kent served as president and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group.