- With James Quincey set to become the new CEO of the Coca-Cola Co. on May 1, the company will make several other changes to its corporate ranks, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
- Francisco Crespo, the company’s Mexico unit president, will become its first chief growth officer.
- Robert Long, Coca-Cola’s vice president of research and development, will take on the title of chief innovation officer; Jennifer Mann will become chief people officer; and Bea Perez will be named chief public affairs, communications and sustainability officer.
It’s not unusual for a new CEO to make some leadership changes, and James Quincey seems to be surrounding himself with beverage veterans whom he has worked with in the past. Quincey hasn’t been shy about his plans to reinvigorate the company, and changes in the C-suite could help him better grow the company the way he wants. “The Coca-Cola Co. has outgrown Coke,” he said earlier this year.
Although the entirety of his plans are not yet known, beverage analysts believe he will lead Coke through a period of increased innovation. He has stated publicly he will try to reduce the company’s sugar footprint and become a bigger player in the overall beverage market.
That’s something that rival PepsiCo has already done, relying on things such as juices and teas rather than just soda. It’s already made a big push with the launch of three USDA-certified organic varieties of its popular sports drink brand Gatorade, called G Organic.
The C-suite changes announced by Coca-Cola drew praise from analysts. "On a high level, it appears that KO is reorganizing its business to increase focus on R&D/innovation and technology which we believe is positive and places it in a stronger position for the future," said Bonnie Herzog, a Wells Fargo analyst, referring to the company's stock symbol. "We continue to believe Quincey has the ability to reaccelerate growth and demonstrate the merits of its strategic overhaul, particularly in light of today’s changes."
It remains to be seen what happens with Quincey in charge, but for now it appears the soda giant is gearing up for meaningful changes when he takes over.