Blog: New Coke CEO? Anyone? Anyone?
Chris Brook-Carter | 20 April 2004
When Douglas Daft, the CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, announced that he was to retire later this year, many investors were initially hostile to the board’s decision to delay naming an heir, fearing that it left the soft drink giant rudderless and cast doubt on the credentials of the obvious internal candidate, Steven Heyer. Wall Street, however, seems to be warming to the idea of the external headhunt that has followed – particularly now that the hunt includes Gillette’s chairman and CEO Jim Kilts.
Shares in the company yesterday rose to a 52-week high following reports that Kilts was leading a field that also includes Mattel Inc. chief executive Robert Eckert, Kellogg Co. chief executive Carlos Gutierrez, and R. Kerry Clark, vice chairman of The Procter & Gamble Co. Coke’s shares closed on Monday at US$53, up by $1.07, or 2.1%. The day's strongest level of US$53.50 was a 52-week high.
Kellogg boss Gutierrez has apparently already ruled himself out, leaving Kilts as the favourite. If Heyer, currently Coke’s COO, is to convince the board and the financial institutions he is the better man, it will take quite a fight.
Kilts has a reputation as a solid businessman. Whilst at Gillette, and previously Nabisco, he has cultivated an image as a tough operator and a great manager of big brands – just the combination Coke’s critics believe the company needs, after what they see as years of directionless leadership.
"Jim Kilts tries to maximize the potential of 'big' brands," said Morgan Stanley drinks analyst Bill Pecoriello in a report issued on Monday. "He likes to be in control, is extremely detail-oriented, requires accountability for every manager, is tough and has a relentless focus on the business."
The full 16-member Coke board of directors will get an update on the search at a regularly scheduled meeting today, in advance of tomorrow's annual shareholders meeting.
Would the thought of working in a morgue stop you from drink driving? ...
You would be forgiven for thinking that the US cider boom is over. Sales growth of as much as 90% in the past few years has shrunk to double figures. ...
The drinks industry could do more to benefit from new technology. ...
The soft drinks world is abuzz today over what an executive shake-up at PepsiCo might mean to on-going speculation over CEO Indra Nooyi's successor....
- A-B InBev and its SABMiller divestments - Focus
- SABMiller in Cent'l & E Europe - What is for sale?
- Paddy Irish whiskey - The Facts
- Is the wine industry confusing its consumers?
- Where does AB InBev see the future of beer?
- Pernod Ricard to widen Our/Vodka sales reach
- Remy Cointreau names new Travel Retail exec
- Leonardo DiCaprio joins Runa drinks board
- Pernod in talks to sell Paddy whiskey to Sazerac
- Private equity poised for SABMiller Europe buy?
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global travel retail insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global non-Scotch whiskies insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Carbonates in India
- Consumer and Market Insights: Spirits Market in the US