Coca-Cola Names CMO

NEW YORK Chuck Fruit has been named chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola, succeeding Dan Palumbo, effective immediately, the company said on Tuesday. Fruit had been senior vice president of integrated marketing at the Atlanta-based soft drinks giant.

Fruit, 57, has been at Coca-Cola for 13 years in various senior media positions. Palumbo joined in July 2003 from Kodak, where he was a senior marketing executive.

In a memo to staff, Coke chief executive Neville Isdell wrote that Palumbo was leaving the company “to pursue other opportunities.” Palumbo was hired last year by then COO Steve Heyer, who said earlier this month that he would leave Coke. (Heyer had expected to succeed Doug Daft in the top job, but the Coke board tapped Isdell in April.)

Fruit will initially report to Heyer, but as Heyer transitions out of the company, he will then report to Isdell.

Isdell credited Fruit with Coke’s global media strategies for the Olympics, the World Cup and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, as well as Coke’s branded integration into American Idol on Fox.

Coke spends more than $1 billion annually on ads worldwide.