Kent , who will stay on as board chairman, "has been an exemplary CEO and sets the bar high," said Wells Fargo analysts in a note released this morning. "That being said, we are confident that James Quincey is more than capable to lead Coca-Cola into its next generation of success."
They added: "This announcement was highly anticipated since Quincey was named chief operating officer in August 2015. Quincey is a great leader and a highly regarded throughout the company. We expect this leadership transition to be smooth given Quincey’s intricate involvement with Coca-Cola's new strategic direction.
"We tend to believe that given James’ background and significant deal experience, he could accelerate Coca-Cola's growth even further through stepped-up acquisitions over the next several years."
For now, Coca-Cola is not replacing the COO role after Quincey assumes the CEO role.
Euromonitor: Timing of announcement 'a bit of a surprise'
Howard Telford, senior beverages analyst at Euromonitor International added: “The timing of this announcement is a bit of a surprise but the move is not entirely unexpected. The transition in leadership at the company in 2017 will conclude a busy period of transition in Coca-Cola’s overall business. The company is working towards a 100% refranchised bottling model in North America while refranchising to key anchor bottlers internationally as well, as it seeks to become a more nimble, profitable and less capital intensive operation.
"At the same time as internal operations have changed over the last several years, the company has made substantial investments in growing its still beverage brands (juice, tea and water) and healthier options, recognizing the need to respond to declining carbonates consumption in key markets. The challenge for the next leadership team at the company will be ensuring continued sales growth in this new consumer environment (impacting both developed and developing markets) via higher value transactions, adjustments to price/package and targeted brand acquisitions in new, high value categories.”
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