Coke global chief moves to Euro role

Coca-Cola’s first worldwide director of advertising, David Wheldon, is leaving to take charge of Coke’s marketing in Europe.

His new title is director of marketing greater Europe, though he will continue to be based in Atlanta. Wheldon replaces Pat Garner in this role. Garner, meanwhile, is taking up a senior role with Coke in the Philippines.

Wheldon will be replaced as vice-president and director of advertising by the former vice-president of Coca-Cola China, Ian Rowden.

Wheldon, a Briton, joined Coke from Lowe Howard-Spink in London, where he was managing director, in 1993 and presided over the dram atic changes to Coke’s advertising.

Over the past three years, working in conjunction with Coke’s worldwide head of marketing Sergio Zyman, Wheldon wrenched Coke’s advertising account out of McCann-Erickson, which had long been its agency of record worldwide. Wheldon and Zyman split the account mainly along individual brand lines, building up a roster of over 30 agencies, some producing commercials for the same brand.

Coke can claim the strategy has succeeded since its sales worldwide have significantly outstripped its main rival Pepsi.

Pepsi’s $500m (325m) Project Blue repackaging initiative, aimed at “capturing” the colour blue in the cola market, can be seen in part as a tribute to Coke’s superiority.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here