Coca-Cola puts focus on scaling new brands to drive growth

The drinks giant has created a Global Ventures group to increase the speed and scale of acquisitions across markets as CEO James Quincey admits it’s “not as fast as we would like to be”.


Coca-Cola has created a Global Ventures group to help scale new brands and identify opportunities to get “maximum value out of acquisitions” as the company looks to reduce its reliance on its core fizzy drink brands.

Speaking on a call to investors today (30 October), CEO James Quincey acknowledged that the company was “not as fast as we would like to be” in terms of scaling new brands across the world.

The drinks company appointed its chief people officer, Jennifer Mann, as president of Global Ventures on 18 October. And Quincey expanded on the reasons behind the newly-created team.

He admitted the company has “not been so successful” tying regions and markets together and that the Global Ventures team will “help drive growth and greater speed going forward”.

“Jennifer’s number one job is to get maximum value out of the things we’ve already bought or invested in. There’s a lot of opportunity to leverage what’s already underway,” he explained.

Mann and her team will also identify further opportunities for acquisitions. Quincey said the goal for the company is to be “lifting, shifting and scaling successful brands across multiple markets”.

Despite the focus on acquisitions, Quincey explained that “M&A is not a strategy in itself” although he said it is an “enabler of our strategy” to become a “total beverage company”.

The company has had a busy quarter with several acquisitions including Costa in the UK, sports drink Body Armour in the US and Australian kombucha brand Mojo. Despite this fast pace, Quincey told investors not to “read too much into it” and promised the rate of acquisitions would not be replicated every quarter.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola will operate a ‘connected not integrated’ strategy for Costa

Coca-Cola saw a 6% rise in organic sales in the third quarter thanks to low sugar drinks and bottled water, with Coke Zero experiencing its best growth in 10 years. Sales of its fizzy drinks were up 2% year on year, while brands such as Smartwater and Fuze Tea also performed well.

And Quincey said that a “greater focus on empowerment and accountability” across all aspects of the business, including marketing, had helped boost the company’s performance. He concluded: “In a world that’s volatile, we need to be able to lead the enterprise forward.”

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