- Alfredo Rivera has been named president of Coca-Cola's North American operations, effective immediately, according to a company press release. Rivera is a 23-year veteran of the company who served as president of the beverage giant's Latin America group.
- Rivera replaces Jim Dinkins, who has led Coca-Cola North America since 2018. Dinkins, who is retiring, joined Coca-Cola in 1988 and went on to serve in a series of roles at the company. Dinkins will serve as senior advisor until his retirement in February 2021.
- James Quincey, Coca-Cola's CEO, said Rivera has expertise in "a large number of highly complex and diverse markets” and he has built "a networked organization that is positioning our business to emerge stronger from the current pandemic."
For Coca-Cola, a change in leadership overseeing its North American operations comes at a time when the beverage giant is working to recover from the coronavirus pandemic that has hurt its business around the world. The United States, in particular, has been hit especially hard with stadiums, restaurants and other out-of-home establishments shuttered or seeing their operations sharply curtailed for much of 2020, cutting off a major source of revenue. North America is a major market for Coca-Cola, generating roughly a third of its sales in 2019.
The North American role has been somewhat of a revolving door for Coca-Cola in recent years, but each time the Atlanta company has pulled from its deep executive bench to find a replacement. Dinkins replaced Sandy Douglas in 2018 after he retired following 30 years with the company. Now, just two years later the position is seeing a new leader again. As Quincey noted, Rivera has been with the company for more than 20 years and is intimately involved with its operations, brands, innovative prowess and what is being done now to position the company to thrive once the coronavirus has passed.
Coca-Cola has been expanding its offerings since Quincey took over in 2017 into additional sparkling waters, coffees and sports drinks. It acquired sparkling water maker Topo Chico in 2017 and recently moved the brand into hard seltzer. In March, Coca-Cola introduced a sparkling water brand called Aha. The beverage marked the company's first major new brand launch since 2006. And in 2018 it bought Costa Coffee for $5.1 billion and took a stake in sports drink BodyArmor.
Rivera's role overseeing the company’s Latin America group included managing operations in 40 countries. He joined Coca-Cola in 1997 in the Central America and Caribbean Division as a district manager in Guatemala and El Salvador. He was later named president of the company's Latin Center business where he oversaw operations in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.
Rivera has shown an ability to adapt to the market in which he is working, where some beverages being offered are unique to that region. As Coca-Cola deals with an uncertain market place and an ever-changing global portfolio catered to varying consumer preferences, Rivera's experience, knowledge of the beverage space and understanding of the company's operations could help him transition into his new role.