James Quincey has been elected as the 14th chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, succeeding Muhtar Kent, who plans to retire in April after a Coca-Cola system career that started in 1978.
Quincey, who currently serves as President and CEO, will become Chairman following the company’s annual meeting in April 2019. He will then serve as chairman and CEO. As previously announced, Brian Smith will become President and Chief Operating Officer of the company on January 1, 2019.
Kent will remain as the company’s Chairman through the 2019 annual meeting, where he will not stand for reelection as a Director. Kent served as both Chairman and CEO from 2009 until 2017 and continued as Chairman after Quincey became CEO.
Kent, whose early days with Coca-Cola included time working on a delivery truck, has held a wide range of roles over the years.
“One of the most important jobs of a Chairman is to ensure that a strong leadership succession plan is in place,” Kent said. “I’m delighted that the board has elected James as Chairman. He is the right leader to take the Coca-Cola system to the next level and through the next decade.”
Quincey becomes the 14th Chairman in the 132-year history of the company. He joined Coca-Cola in 1996 and has held a variety of positions around the world.
“I’m honored that the board of directors has asked me to serve as chairman of the company,” Quincey said. “I appreciate the years of mentorship, encouragement and insights I’ve gained from Muhtar.”