Coca-Cola NA Marketing Revamp

Ransom's departure shifts Bayne, Dillon

Published in CSP Daily News

ATLANTA --Coca-Cola North America is revamping its marketing operation, including the departure of one executive and new or added duties for three others, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. John Hackett, who took leadership of Coca-Cola's North American marketing in January, announced the changes internally late last week, said the report.

Among the shifts, Randy Ransom, who has been in charge of Coca-Cola brands, will leave the company for unspecified reasons. He first joined Coca-Cola in 1995 as part of a spate of hires by ex-exec Sergio Zyman [image-nocss] before leaving for a job with Mexican brewer and Coca-Cola bottler Femsa in 2001. He returned to Coca-Cola in 2004. Ransom's tenure at Coca-Cola included the launch of Coca-Cola with Lime and tweaking the Make it Real campaign for Coke Classic.

Coca-Cola will combine the unit that Ransom led with the company's diet-brand business unit, creating a single Coca-Cola Trademark operation. It will be overseen by Katie Bayne, who has worked at Coca-Cola since 1989 and has been in charge of integrated marketing.

Dan Dillon, who has been running diet brands, will become leader of the newly created Portfolio Strategies Group. The unit will include work on Hispanic marketing, packaging, health-and-wellness issues and revenue management.

Alison Lewis will continue to lead the company's Sprite and flavors unit, adding duties for diet brands like Diet Sprite Zero.

In other company news, French food company Groupe Danone SA said Friday that Coca-Cola will take full control of the joint venture that distributes water brands including Evian, Sparkletts and Dannon in North America. Under a revised agreement, said the Associated Press, Coca-Cola will buy out Danone's 49% interest in the venture, which will continue to distribute Danone's bottled water brands, Danone said. Under the revised agreement, Danone said, Coca-Cola will increase advertising spending for the flagship Evian brand by 20% over the next five years.

And separately, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., also based in Atlanta, said that executive vice president and COO G. David Van Houten Jr. will retire by the end of 2005, and the process has begun for the selection of his successor. The bottler has also appointed Shaun B. Higgins to president of its European Group, William W. Douglas to CFO, Mark Schortman to vice president of North American sales (assuming leadership for the Customer Management Group currently led by Daniel Marr, who will also retire by the end of the year) and Hal Kravitz to vice president of business development and chief revenue officer. Further, Guy Thomas, vice president of U.S. sales operations, and Bob Gray, senior vice president of operations and capital planning, will retire by the end of 2005.