Coca-Cola to streamline drinks divisions

Coca-Cola to streamline drinks divisions

Coca-Cola Co plans to reduce its business units in Europe from ten divisions to four, as part of the soft drinks giant's restructuring plan for the region.

Coca-Cola Great Britain's marketing director, Cathryn Sleight, will leave the business following the re-jig, which the group confirmed yesterday (27 April).

Her post will cease to exist once Coca-Cola has created its four new business divisions, set to be Iberia, Germany, North West Europe & Nordics (NWEN) and Central & Southern Europe.

“The changes we are making will simplify the way we operate in all areas of the business," said Coca-Cola Europe's president, Dominique Reiniche. "This will drive efficiency by enabling us to be faster to market and to increase the scale of our activities across Europe.”

The move could result in up to 150 job losses from Coca-Cola's 1,700-strong European workforce. The group has begun a consultation with staff.

The new NWEN business unit will comprise the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland.

A series of promotions will follow the creation of the division.

Nick Robinson will become My Coke director at NWEN, responsible for Coke, diet Coke and Coke Zero. He currently holds the same role at the Great Britain business.

Philippa Classey will expand her responsibility for the Glaceau Vitaminwater brand from Great Britain to all of the NWEN countries. Michel Gotlib will be integrated marketing communications director at NWEN, having been head of marketing in France since 2007. Gotlib will direct integrated campaigns, including sponsorship and digital platforms, across the region.

"We look forward to developing more multi-country, multi-platform, integrated marketing campaigns that resonate with our consumers regardless of their location,” he said.

GB marketing director Cathryn Sleight is one of the highest profile casualties of the changes. Coca-Cola chief marketing and commercial officer, Joe Tripodi, praised her achievement at Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland over the last five years.

"She recently oversaw the Coke range breaking the GBP1bn (US$1.5m) sales barrier – a first for a UK grocery brand," said Tripodi.

"She was responsible for the launch of Coke Zero, hailed as the biggest NPD launch in over 20 years in the UK, building it into a GBP56m brand today and leading the successful launch of glaceau vitaminwater in 2008 and launching and driving the growth of Relentless."

The restructuring follows Coca-Cola's decision to acquire Coca-Cola Enterprises bottling operations in North America.