Coke Restructures, Marketing Chief Resigns

LOS ANGELES The Coca-Cola Co. has reorganized its corporate structure in an effort to streamline operations and increase collaboration among its business units. Also, two Coke senior executives are stepping down from their posts.

Chief marketing officer Stephen Jones has resigned to pursue other interests, and Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, who is vice president, diversity strategy and culture, has decided to retire from the company after 15 years.

Jones, who most recently worked on Coca-Cola’s “Real” campaign, had been with the company for 16 years. He joined Coca-Cola Canada in 1986 as brand manager for Sprite, and also held senior marketing positions at Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Great Britain, and Japan.

Geoffrey Frost, corporate vp-global marketing and communications for Motorola’s personal communications sector, had previously been considered a candidate for the position, but he is no longer in the running and the search for Jones’ replacement is still underway [Adweek, February 24].

Crusoe-Ingram, who joined Coca-Cola in 1988 as a human resources director, most recently managed the company’s partnerships with organizations such as The College Fund, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the National Black MBA Association. She also oversaw the company’s global diversity strategy, including a $1 billion entrepreneurship program.

Until the end of September, Crusoe-Ingram will transition her department’s responsibilities to Coretha Rushing, senior vice president, human resources, and Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president, corporate external affairs.

Coca-Cola also named Danny Strickland as chief innovation/R&D officer. He joins the company April 1 from General Mills, where he was senior vice president, innovation, technology and quality.

Coca-Cola’s new structure will focus on six strategic priorities centered on three core capabilities: geographic operations, innovation and research & development, and marketing, the company said. Among those priorities are a reshaped marketing structure that will have new capabilities to capitalize on research, consumer insight and trends; a single innovation and development focus led by Strickland; and a consolidated strategy and planning group.