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Business

Coca-Cola gets new CEO

Coca-Cola has announced that its chief executive will step down next year as the US beverage giant faces a tougher demand environment for soda. Investors welcomed the move, sending the stock up in New York.

US soft drink company Coca-Cola said Friday that its current Chief Executive Muhtar Kent would step down in spring of next year.

On May 1, 2017, his post will be taken over by James Quincey, now the company's chief operation officer, while Kent would remain chairman of the board of directors.

Kent said it had been a "wonderful and unique privilege" to lead the firm over the past eight years.

Adapting to changes

The announcement of the executive reshuffle came as Coca-Cola and rival PepsiCo faced a rising trend of soda taxes in some key markets, including major US cities and Mexico. Soda sales have sagged, with the company trying to compensate for the changed environment by boosting its sales of snacks.

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Philadelphia becomes first big US city to tax soda (July 2016)

Major Coca-Cola shareholder Warren Buffet was pleased the news. "I know James and like him and believe the company has made a smart investment in its future with his selection."

The markets were also happy about the decision, with the company's shares adding 2.5 percent in early trading Friday, reaching their highest level in four weeks.

hg/jd (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

 

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