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Ciptapangan Visitor
Coke Bottler Names New President, CEO
posted by admin on 23/06/06

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Coke's largest bottler world-wide, has named John Brock its new president and chief executive officer, tapping a veteran beverage executive to restore growth in the key markets of North America and Western Europe.

Mr. Brock, 57 years old, was most recently CEO of Belgium-based InBev, the world's largest brewer by volume. He left in December 2005 after his three-year contract ended. Prior to InBev, he served as chief operating officer at London-based Cadbury Schweppes PLC and spent many years in the soft-drink and bottling industry. Mr. Brock joined InBev, then called Interbrew, in 2002 shortly after Cadbury's CEO post went to another executive.

At Cadbury, which he joined in 1983, Mr. Brock led its global beverage business and he helped engineer the purchase of brands such as Dr Pepper and 7 Up. He was credited with consolidating Cadbury's independent network of bottlers in the U.S. during the 1990s, and he also secured distribution agreements with Coke and Pepsi bottlers for some of Cadbury's sodas.

John R. Alm resigned as CCE's CEO effective Jan. 1 after the company posted disappointing results during his two years at the helm. CCE Chairman Lowry Kline had served as interim CEO since then. Mr. Kline will remain chairman and Mr. Brock will join the CCE board.

Mr. Brock grew up in Mississippi and earned chemical engineering degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Now he will be returning to Atlanta to lead CCE, taking on his duties there in mid-May.

Mr. Brock is tasked with accelerating soft-drink growth in two large markets for Coke, North America and Western Europe. Soda sales have been slipping in those markets as consumers increasingly switch to bottled water and other drinks, partly out of concern about obesity.

Mr. Brock also inherits a legal battle pitting CCE and Coke against some smaller Coke bottlers over a new distribution system at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In February, 55 Coke bottlers representing nearly 10% of Coke's U.S. volume in bottles and cans sued CCE and Coke for breach of contract. At issue in the federal lawsuit in Atlanta are CCE's shipments of Powerade sports drinks to Wal-Mart's regional warehouses.

This is a break with a century-old tradition of bottlers doing direct-store delivery, known as DSD, in which bottlers drop off drinks at stores, stock the shelves and erect merchandising displays. The bottlers suing Coke and CCE allege that warehouse delivery isn't allowed under their distribution contracts and could potentially threaten the system of bottlers serving exclusive territories. Coke and CCE say the warehouse deliveries are permitted.

CCE shares were up five cents to $20.68 in 4 p.m. trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Write to Chad Terhune at chad.terhune@wsj.com

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