Coke seeks a lift from new CEO Quincey

Monday is Day One for Coca-Cola’s new CEO.

James Quincey, 52, a British-born veteran executive at the Atlanta icon, takes the job officially as predecessor Muhtar Kent retires after nearly a decade in the post.

He is the 16th executive to head the company in the last 125 years. (Two, Robert W. Woodruff and Charles Howard Candler, headed the company twice.)

Though Coke remains comfortably profitable and one of the world’s best-known brands, Quincey ascends amid a raft of challenges for the company. Soda sales have slowed in recent years as consumers turn away from sugary drinks and look for alternatives.

Total revenue is down for the past four years, and the company has turned to selling smaller serving sizes at higher prices per ounce to help keep up profits.

Meanwhile Coke is finishing a complex and expensive retooling of bottling operations begun under Kent.

Last week, the incoming CEO announced a new and deep round of job cuts that will hit the Atlanta headquarters hard.

“I don’t think we’re broken, but I don’t think we’re where we need to be,” Quincey said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ExploreRead more about Quincey and the challenges he faces at Coke in our full report at myajc.com.


Coca-Cola’s leaders since 1892

Name, Time period, Tenure

James Quincey, 2017 —

Muhtar Kent, 2008 – 2017, 9 years

Neville Isdell, 2004 – 2008, 4 years

Doug Daft, 2000 – 2004, 4 years

Doug Ivester, 1997 – 2000, 3 years

Roberto Goizueta, 1981 – 1997, 16 years

Paul Austin, 1962 – 1981, 19 years*

Lee Talley, 1958 – 1962, 4 years

William Robinson, 1955 – 1958, 3 years

H.B. Nicholson, 1952 – 1955, 3 years

William Hobbs, 1946 – 1952, 6 years

Robert W. Woodruff, 1945 – 1946, 1 year

Arthur A. Acklin, 1939 – 1945, 6 years

Robert W. Woodruff, 1923 – 1939, 16 years

Charles Howard Candler, 1920 – 1923, 3 years

Samuel Candler Dobbs, 1919 – 1920, 1 year

Charles Howard Candler, 1916 – 1919, 3 years

Asa G. Candler, 1892 – 1916, 24 years

*Note: Paul Austin was the first executive with the title of chief executive officer. Before, the role was called president. Austin was CEO for 15 years and president for four years.

Source: Coca-Cola