Coca-Cola Amatil CEO Alison Watkins will leave the company once Coca-Cola European Partners acquires the Australasian bottler.
A spokesperson for CCA confirmed to just-drinks today that Watkins will step down on completion of the purchase, which is expected on 10 May. Peter West, currently MD of Coca-Cola Amatil Australia will become GM of a newly-created Australia, Pacific & Indonesia (API) business unit.
Watkins has lead Amatil for nine years, leading the Australasian bottler through challenging times and spearheading the sale to CCEP. The spokesperson added there are no available details on Watkins’ next steps.
Meanwhile, CCEP is to change its name to Coca-Cola Europacific Partners post-purchase, in a move designed to reflect the greatly increased footprint of the new entity, which combines territories across Europe with CCA’s Oceanic and Indonesian markets. The transition to a new company name means CCEP will only have had its current title for less than six years: The group took on the Coca-Cola European Partners name in August 2015 following a merger between Coca-Cola Enterprises, the German unit of the Coca-Cola Co and Coca-Cola Iberian Partners.
Watkins took over as CCA’s CEO in March 2014, joining from Australian agribusiness GrainCorp. Seven months later she implemented a cost-cutting plan in a bid to stabilise falling profits from soft drinks in Australia. The plan included selling a US$500m stake in CCA’s Indonesian business to The Coca-Cola Co amid a downturn in beverage demand in the country.
Over the following years, Watkins made further changes, including selling off the struggling SPC fruit and vegetable processing unit. In one of her final acts at the company, she helped negotiate a higher price for CCA in the CCEP takeover after arguing that improved trading and net debt position had increased the company’s value.