Beverage Industry

Industry Issues

December 1, 2007
Kent to succeed Isdell at Coca-Cola
The Coca-Cola Co. announced President and Chief Operating Officer Muhtar Kent will succeed Neville Isdell as chief executive officer as of July 1, 2008. Isdell will remain chairman until April 2009.
“Having worked closely with Muhtar for nearly 20 years, I know that his combination of industry knowledge, passion for operational excellence, strategic vision and high level of interpersonal skills is the ideal blend to take our company forward,” Isdell said in a statement.
Kent first joined Coca-Cola in 1978 and held a variety of roles. In 1999, he left to become president and chief executive officer of the Efes Co. in Europe, and returned to Coca-Cola in May 2005. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and chief operating officer in December 2006.
“The opportunity to lead The Coca-Cola Co. is an extraordinary honor, and I am grateful to the board for the confidence it has placed in me,” Kent said. “I look forward to building on the strong foundation for sustainable growth that we have set in place for the Coca-Cola system around the world.”
Widmer, Redhook breweries to merge
Redhook Ale Brewery, Woodinville, Wash., and Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, Ore., have announced plans to merge, creating a combined company called Craft Brewers Alliance. Kurt Widmer will serve as the company’s chairman of the board, and Paul Shipman will serve as chairman emeritus. Dave Mickelson, Redhook’s current president and chief operating officer, and Terry Michaelson, president of Craft Brands Alliance, Redhook and Widmer’s current sales and marketing joint venture, will serve as co-chief executive officers of the company.
The companies say they see the merger as a natural step for the two businesses that already operate partnerships in brewing, sales and marketing. They plan to keep the Redhook and Widmer brands separate in the marketplace.
“Our combination of talented people, high-quality beers and first-class brewing operations presents tremendous advantages for the combined company,” said Paul Shipman, founder and chief executive officer of Redhook. “The two breweries have worked well together over the past few years, and I’m confident that we will be even stronger as one company.”
The combined company will have breweries in Portland, Woodinville and Portsmouth, N.H. It will be publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol HOOK and will have management offices in both Portland and Woodinville. The agreement is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, and is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2008. Anheuser-Busch is expected to remain a strategic distribution partner for the company and will continue to hold a minority equity stake following the merger.
Nestlé opens dedicated beverage R&D center
Nestlé has opened a new center dedicated to beverage research and development in Orbe, Switzerland. The Nestlé Professional Beverage Centre is the company’s first R&D facility dedicated to out-of-home beverages.
Nestlé announced in October that it planned to restructure its FoodServices Strategic Business Division into Nestlé Professional, a globally managed business unit focused on the out-of-home food and beverage market. The company says it will benefit from a dedicated, segment-specific organization, which includes the new R&D facility.