US: Coke loses chief marketing man

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The Coca-Cola Co's chief marketing officer is to become the latest high-profile departure from the soft drinks giant, only a year after he joined.

Daniel Palumbo will step down to "pursue other opportunities," the company said yesterday, without going into further detail. He joined from Eastman Kodak.

Palumbo will be replaced by Chuck Fruit. Fruit joined the company in 1991 as head of global media services and has held positions of steadily increasing responsibility. Most recently, he was senior vice president, integrated marketing, with responsibility for developing the company's worldwide media and sponsorship strategies and its investments in all forms of traditional and emerging media platforms. He also served as acting chief marketing officer in 2003.

Palumbo is the latest in a list of top executives to leave the group in the last year. He joins Coke  chief executive officer Douglas Daft and COO Steve Heyer, among others.

New CEO Neville Isdell said: "Today's consumer and media environments call for a more multi-faceted and integrated approach to marketing, from our consumer communications to the point of sale and all the way through to opening a bottle of Coca-Cola. Creativity is vital, and so is a broader, holistic view of how to reach our consumers. Chuck's experience and expertise fit very well within this new environment.

"Chuck is recognised in both the company and the industry as one of the world's most experienced, insightful and respected marketers. Under Chuck's leadership, we will unleash the unmatched talent we possess across the Coca-Cola system to build closer and stronger relationships between our brands and our consumers," said Isdell. "We appreciate Dan's accomplishments during his tenure and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Fruit said: "I look forward to supporting Neville's vision to build a marketing organization for the future and continuing to work closely with our very talented and capable global marketing team on new and innovative ways to deepen our brands' connection with consumers."

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

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