James Quincey: Coca-Cola’s CEO Analysis

The Coca-Cola Company (KO) was founded 133 years ago and since then, has become the largest maker of non-alcoholic beverages in the world. The company operates in almost every country, serving up nearly 2 billion daily servings of its 500+ unique brands of drinks.

The Coca-Cola system employs more than 700,000 people worldwide as they provide juice, dairy and plant beverages, water and enhanced water sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and of course, its core portfolio of sparkling beverages.

The company has more than 20 individual brands that each sell more than a billion dollars’ worth of beverages annually through a total of 27 million retail outlets, an unprecedented tally. In total, Coca-Cola generates ~$35 billion in annual revenue and has a market capitalization of just over $200 billion.

James Quincey’s Coca-Cola Journey

James Quincey (pictured below) is Coca-Coal’s CEO.

James Quincey

Source: Coca-Cola press library

Quincey became CEO of Coca-Cola on May 1, 2017, but his journey with the company started long before that. In fact, he’s been with Coca-Cola since 1996 and moved up through its executive ranks steadily before reaching the top spot in 2017.

Quincey was born in London in 1965 but his family moved around quite a bit, making a stop in the United States while his father lectured at Dartmouth College before moving back to England. He went to university in Liverpool, studying Electronic Engineering. However, he found his calling wasn’t in building semiconductors, but in the world of business.

After graduating from the University of Liverpool, Quincey joined Bain & Co., which was a burgeoning consultancy at the time. He worked for Bain for a couple of years before joining a startup formed by former Bain and McKinsey employees called the Kalchas Group. Quincey then moved back to the US with the Kalchas Group to set up US operations, first in Chicago and then eventually in New York. It was while Quincey was working in New York that Coca-Cola recruited him, and his Coke journey began.

He joined Coca-Cola in Atlanta in 1996 as the Director of Learning Strategy for the Latin America Group in an internal consultancy role. He went on to work in a series of operational roles of increasing responsibility in Latin America, eventually leading to his appointment as President of the South Latin America Division in 2003. Quincey is credited with developing and executing a successful brand, pack, price, and channel strategy that has since been replicated all over the world throughout Coca-Cola’s system.

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