Coke Picks Executive to Lead Bottling Integration

Coke Picks Executive to Lead Bottling Integration

Coke Picks Executive to Lead Bottling Integration

Coca-Cola Co. appointed North America supply-chain chief Brian P. Kelley to lead the integration effort after the beverage giant finishes acquiring the bulk of its largest bottler.

Coke last month agreed to buy Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.'s North American operations in a roughly $12 billion deal that is expected to prompt wide-ranging changes in the way the company distributes its drinks.

Mr. Kelley has led Coca-Cola's North America still-beverages unit--which includes noncarbonated beverages like bottled water and juices--since 2007 and has been responsible for Coke's supply chain, which includes 23 company-owned plants.

He will report to an integration steering committee headed by Chairman and Chief Executive Muhtar Kent. Mr. Kelley also will form a team of Coca-Cola and CCE executives that will develop plans to integrate parts of the businesses in the U.S. and Canada and prepare plans for remaining North American businesses--primarily related to consumer marketing and leadership for its independent bottlers.

As part of the deal, Coca-Cola Enterprises agreed in principle to buy Coca-Cola's bottling operations in Norway and Sweden and obtain the right to acquire a German bottler.

PepsiCo Inc. recently acquired its bottlers, and the two beverage companies say the acquisitions will make them more nimble in North America, where noncarbonated drinks have become a more important part of the beverage industry.

Coke has said the deal will help it cut out substantial overlap in its distribution system to retailers and restaurant chains in the U.S. At the moment, a bottler like CCE would drop off bottled drinks to the coolers in a food-service outlet, but Coca-Cola would supply the concentrate for fountain drinks to the same outlet.


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