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The Coca-Cola Co. is to remove a layer of senior management in Europe as it looks to build on its "positive" performance on the continent last year.

Coca-Cola Co. told just-drinks today (9 March) that it would eliminate five senior management positions in an attempt to trim its management structure in Europe.

A spokesman for Coca-Cola Co.'s EU Group said, although the plans had yet to be finalised, the company planned to axe the positions and have its 11 market units report directly to its European headquarters in Brussels.

The spokesman said, for instance, that there would no longer be a vice president for Germany and the Nordic markets. Under the plans, each market would report directly to Brussels.

He said Coca-Cola Co. wanted to drive "simplicity, scale and speed across Europe" to quicken decision-making and the implementation of brand launches on the continent.

"We realise that, even if we are proud of our results in Europe in 2006, we need to do our very best to make sure we continue that positive momentum," the spokesman said. "We are not blind to the fact that Europe remains a very challenging market."

Last year, Coca-Cola Co.'s volumes in the EU rose 6%, thanks to first-time contributions from acquisitions in Germany and Italy. Revenues, however, fell 11% as charges from the company's restructuring in Spain hit the bottom line in the region.

The spokesman said the plans may lead to a "limited number of redundancies" but insisted the restructuring was "not about saving costs".

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