Coca-Cola's CEO Muhtar Kent, at the helm for nearly a decade, is stepping down next year. The company's COO, James Quincey, will assume the top spot. Jeanne Yurman reports.
The CEO of an American icon is stepping down. Coca-Cola's Muhtar Kent will hand the baton to the company's chief operating officer, James Quincey, in May next year. The 64-year-old chief has been at the helm for nine years and will stay on as chairman. Quincey - who is 51 - gets a stamp of approval from the CEO of Coca Cola's biggest shareholder, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffet. In a statement he said, "I know James and like him, and believe the company has made a smart investment in its future with this selection." The change at the top comes as consumers are moving away from carbonated drinks. Fizzy beverages still make up more than two-thirds of Coca-Cola's sales. But the beverage giant has been shifting its productline to more non-carbonated drinks, cutting costs and selling its bottling operations. Investors seemed to support the change. Shares were gaining more than two percent in early trading Friday.