Coke picks second-in-command

Coca-Cola has promoted international operations director Muhtar Kent to president and chief operating officer.

Kent will take over immediately in the new role that makes him the soft drinks company’s second-most powerful executive behind chairman and CEO Neville Isdell, as well as the leading candidate to succeed his boss.

Kent has spent 28 years working for Coke and returned to the company after a break in 2005. Since then he has risen rapidly through the ranks with successive promotions last year from CEO of a Turkish Coke bottler to the director of Europe, Asia and the Middle East before being asked by Isdell to take responsibility for Coke’s international operations.

The company’s operating group presidents around the world will all report to Kent as well as Irial Finan, president of the company’s Bottling Investments Group.

Director of marketing, strategy and innovation Mary Minnick will continue to report to Isdell.

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