Coca-Cola reshuffles leadership roles as it ramps up innovation efforts

Coca-Cola has created the new leadership position of chief growth officer, replacing the current role of global CMO.

Coca-Cola has made changes to its leadership team to grow the innovation side of its business as James Quincey transitions from president and COO to CEO on May 1, 2017.

“The changes support work already under way to create a leaner, more agile corporate organization that is focused on strategy, governance and vital strategic initiatives, such as innovation and portfolio growth,” the company said.

Doing away with CMO title

Coinciding with Quincey's new role, replacing Muhtar Kent as CEO, the company has combined its global marketing, customer and commercial, and strategy role into one position: chief growth officer.

President of the company’s Mexico business unit, Francisco Crespo, will become the newly-created global chief growth officer and report directly to Quincey. Under the new role, Crespo will be head Coca-Cola’s global marketing, corporate strategy, and customer and commercial leadership teams focused on growing its five key beverage categories: sparkling, juice/dairy/plant-based, tea and coffee, water and enhanced waters, and energy drinks.

The structural move replaces Coca-Cola’s global CMO position. Current global CMO, Marcos de Quinto, will be leaving after 38 years with Coca-Cola.

De Quinto was in charge of the beverage giant’s One Brand strategy launched in 2015 as a marketing initiative to spread the “enduring appeal” of its flagship Coca-Cola brand. Under the one brand strategy, Coca-Cola brands (Coca-Cola Life, Coca-Cola Zero, and Diet Coke) adopted the same branding style.

“De Quinto also led work to improve marketing productivity, which enabled significant reinvestments in marketing spend and supporting results in the company’s growth,” the company said in a statement.

Changes in innovation and digital leadership

Coca-Cola said it will continue to digitize its business and has created new roles within its innovation and technology sectors to help achieve those goals.

Current vice president of research and development, Robert Long, will become the chief innovation officer to elevate global research development into a “standalone innovation function” and will report directly to the CEO.

Barry Simpson, current senior vice president and chief information officer, will remain in his role but be elevated to report directly to the CEO to increase visibility and focus on efforts to digitize all aspects of the company’s business. 

In addition, current vice president and chief sustainability officer, Bea Perez, will become chief public affairs, communications and sustainability officer.

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