Coca-Cola’s New CEO to Accelerate Investments in Start-Ups

Lindsay Whipp reported yesterday at The Financial Times Online that, “Coca-Cola’s new chief executive is to accelerate the company’s investments in start-ups, as the world’s largest soft drinks company seeks to diversify more quickly into healthier beverages and new trends.

James Quincey, who took over the CEO role from Muhtar Kent this month, said the company needed to break away from an internal culture that was overly focused on its eponymous brand.

“‘It was probably culturally unacceptable internally to say that Coca-Cola wasn’t the preferred brand,’ Mr Quincey told the Financial Times. ‘And if you have that as your culture, you’re self-limiting growth of other categories. The liberation of cutting through that cultural barrier is going to allow us to more sharply focus on what it is that consumers are really doing.'”

The FT article noted that, “The pace of investments, he said, would be an acceleration from his predecessor Mr Kent, who still occupies the chairman role at Coca-Cola. Under Mr Kent in the last 10 years the company has either built or invested in 42 brands in the US alone, a recent investment being in Aloe Gloe, a water start-up. It also added nine brands that pull in annual sales of more than $1bn, such as such as Fuze, which makes teas and still fruit drinks.

“However, the company’s carbonated sales, including Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta brands, still account for about 72 per cent of its worldwide volume, according to Beverage Digest, and some analysts have criticised the company for being too slow at diversifying.”

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