Canada's Coca-Cola Bottling Company today announced that it is realigning its operations under a new national structure, which will result in an overall reduction of the workforce by approximately 3%.

The operating unit will be led by a new Canadian management team and will maintain its local presence through four new areas. The four new areas are, B.C. and Northern Alberta; Southern Alberta and Manitoba/Saskatchewan; Ontario and Quebec/Atlantic.

"This new structure will allow us to speak with one voice to national customers," said Coca-Cola Bottling president Jarratt Jones. "At the same time we will be able to strengthen our focus on local opportunities within each area."

The job losses will mainly be in upper management and in functional departments that are being centralised. The company said it was making available a series of fair and generous options to its employees affected by these changes.

"Coca-Cola Canada is positioned for sustained growth, particularly given the strong foundation of people, infrastructure and technology in place across the country." said Jones.

Over the last four years, the company has invested over $400 million in new fleet, cold drink equipment and technology and has added over 700 new people.

The company also announced that Tom Barlow, currently general manager and vice president for Eastern Canada, will assume responsibilities as senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Canadian operating division effective immediately, and that as of January, 2002, Barlow will be named president of Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Jones added: "We have much to look forward to under Tom's leadership given his 24 years of experience in sales and customer management in Canada and the US."

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