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Coke's CEO Says More Women Needed at Top Levels

Coca-Cola seems well represented with executives from diverse nations but is short of women, President and CEO Muhtar Kent says.

He told Knowledge@Wharton that the firm's Atlanta headquarters includes natives from Australia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, France, Colombia and Ireland. Kent was born in Turkey and educated in Great Britain.
But he says that he has learned that there are only two female executives and two women in charge of bottling plants around the world. Neither is in the U.S. Kent says he intends to change this.

Globalization is key to Coke's success. Kent says the firm wants to double revenues from $650 billion now to $1 trillion by 2020.

Much of that may come from China. Just after spending heavily in the Beijing Olympics this summer, Coke announced a $2.3 billion deal to buy China's Huiyuan Juice Group. That plan is still undergoing review by Chinese regulators.

Kent's proposition that diversity is the code to future global success seems on target. He adds that he doesn't want to merely take executives from one comfortable lifestyle and have them try to replicate it in an emerging market. He wants people who "work creatively and effectively outside of their comfort zone."

Kent, who came into office this July, seems to be the CEO of the future. Your thoughts?


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