Coca-Cola CEO Retires

NEW YORK Doug Daft, chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola, is retiring at the end of the year, the company confirmed. Daft took the job in 1999.

In a statement, Daft said, “I will work with the board [of directors] … to support this transition process. The board will engage a search firm to assist in this effort and will carefully consider external candidates along with the internal candidate we have in Steve Heyer.”

Heyer joined the company in 2001 from TBS and is now worldwide president Coca-Cola. Heyer has been regarded as Daft’s heir apparent.

Coke’s roster of agencies includes Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest; WPP Group shops Berlin Cameron/Red Cell and Ogilvy & Mather; and Interpublic Group holdings Foote Cone & Belding and McCann-Erickson.

The Atlanta-based beverage maker’s brands include Coke Classic, Diet Coke, Vanilla Coke, Sprite, Dasani, Mello Yello, Barq’s and Minute Maid.

Coke spent nearly $325 million on domestic ads across all of its brands last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Estimated annual global ad spending is in excess of $1 billion.