Coca-Cola restructures Americas business to accelerate growth

The Coca-Cola Company is making management and organizational changes to Coca-Cola Americas as part of its agenda to accelerate growth.

The company, which reorganized its operating structure last year, is taking further steps to streamline its focus and expedite its refranchising to independent bottling partners.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the integrated North America business will be segmented into a traditional company and bottler operating model that will consist of two operating units: Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola Refreshments.

As a result, the following leadership changes will take place:

  • Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) will be led by J. A. M. “Sandy” Douglas, as group president, reporting to chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. Douglas will also continue his role as global chief customer officer. North America brands, foodservice, brand commercial, retail sales, research and development, venturing and emerging brands, strategy, franchise leadership and transformation and the Canadian franchise operations will now report to Douglas.
  • Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR), the bottling operations of North America, will be led by Paul Mulligan, as president, CCR. CCR will become part of the Bottling Investments Group (BIG) and Mulligan will report to Irial Finan, president of BIG. Mulligan is currently head of commercial for BIG, and region director responsible for Japan and Latin America BIG operations. CCR Canada, product supply chain and service, bottler commercial, customer care and region sales will now report to Mulligan.

The North America Enabling Functions will continue to support both CCNA and CCR. Meanwhile, the company stated in a release that Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas, has decided to leave the company to “pursue other opportunities.”

The Coca-Cola Americas operating structure will cease to exist. The Latin America Group, led by group president Brian Smith, will become part of Coca-Cola International. Smith will report to Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola International.

“Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of the business announced last year when the company consolidated leadership of its global operations under the Bottling Investments Group, Coca-Cola International and Coca-Cola Americas,” said Kent. “We organized the business to intensify focus on key markets, streamline reporting lines, and provide flexibility to adjust the business within these geographies in the future. Now, we are in a position to leverage this flexibility to return to a traditional company and bottling operating model in North America, which will enhance our focus on execution and accelerate the refranchising of our bottling system in our flagship market.”

Douglas joined Coca-Cola in Jan. 1988 as a district sales manager for the foodservice division of Coca-Cola USA. He also held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility in Coca-Cola USA. He was appointed VP of Coca-Cola USA in 1994, assuming leadership of the CCE sales and marketing group. In 1998, his responsibilities were increased to include the entire North American field sales and marketing groups. He was appointed president of the North America retail division in 2000. Douglas began his career at Procter & Gamble, working in a variety of sales and sales management positions.

Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Mulligan practiced as a CPA with KPMG in Ireland and the U.S. He joined Coca-Cola Hellenic Romania field sales prior to assuming the role of GM of Coca-Cola Bottling Company North West Romania. He subsequently was appointed commercial director, Romania. Mulligan next served as country manager of Bulgaria (Coca-Cola Hellenic) where he was founding member and chairman of Bulgaria's first licensed Waste Packaging Recovery Organization. Mulligan then served as country GM of Switzerland before joining Coca-Cola as group commercial director for the Bottling Investments Group, with commercial strategy responsibility spanning 20 franchises and operational responsibility for the company's investments in Japan (Tokyo & Tone Bottling Companies) and the bottling franchise for Coca-Cola Philadelphia, USA.