Coke picks Chuck Fruit as Palumbo joins exodus

The Coca-Cola company has appointed Chuck Fruit as chief marketing officer to replace Daniel Palumbo.

Coca-Cola says that Palumbo is leaving “to pursue other opportunities”. Speculation suggests that Palumbo was too closely linked to the recently departed president and chief operating officer Steve Heyer.

Heyer left earlier this month after being passed over for the chief executive’s job, which went to retired Coke executive Neville Isdell. Heyer was regarded as the architect of Coca-Cola’s recent change in marketing strategy towards using non-traditional media and more edgy advertising.

Palumbo was appointed in June last year and joined from the position of senior vice-president at Eastman Kodak, where he had also been chief marketing officer (MW June 12, 2003). He replaced Stephen Jones, who left in March 2003.

Fruit joined Coca-Cola in 1991 as head of global media services and was most recently senior vice-president, integrated marketing. In that position he had responsibility for developing the company’s worldwide media and sponsorship strategies. He also served as acting chief marketing officer in 2003.

Before joining Coca-Cola he spent 15 years with Anheuser-Busch. He has served as a national director of the American Advertising Association and Association of National Advertisers.

Coca-Cola pulled a US television ad earlier this month that depicted a basketball player using a cold Coke can to cool under his armpit before passing it to an unsuspecting friend. The ad received complaints after being aired during a golf tournament.

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