Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. announced that J. Alexander “Sandy” Douglas Jr. will retire as president of Coca-Cola North America (CCNA). He will be succeeded by James L. “Jim” Dinkins, who currently serves as president of the Minute Maid Business Unit and chief retail sales officer for CCNA.
Douglas, who joined Coca-Cola in 1988, has been a driving force in transforming CCNA for long-term, sustainable success. Under Douglas’ leadership, CCNA has reinvigorated growth in core sparkling beverages while also expanding the group’s total beverage portfolio, the company says.
Dinkins is a Coca-Cola leader who, like Douglas, started his career with the company in 1988. Dinkins was promoted to his current position earlier this year. Dinkins will begin his new duties Jan. 1, 2018, reporting to Coca-Cola President and Chief Executive Officer James Quincey. To ensure a seamless transition, Douglas will retire from the company March 1, 2018.
“Our North American business has been thriving and is well positioned for continued success,” Quincey said in a statement. “Sandy Douglas has done a tremendous job of leading CCNA to a strong position. Jim Dinkins is a highly experienced, respected executive who will lead Coca-Cola North America as it continues to evolve and grow.”
During the past decade, Douglas, who also is an executive vice president of The Coca-Cola Co., has worked with the Coca-Cola system to transform CCNA into a total beverage company with a focus on growing value across an increasingly wide variety of products and packages. Douglas and the company’s bottling partners have worked together to steward the largest bottler refranchising initiative in the Coca-Cola system’s history. He will retire from the company as the North American refranchising process nears completion, putting North American bottling operations in the hands of a diverse set of highly capable owners who are best positioned to serve local customers and communities, the company says.
“I am incredibly grateful to James Quincey and everyone within our North American system for giving me the opportunity to lead our business through a period of phenomenal change,” Douglas said in a statement. “I feel incredibly positive about what lies ahead for our system because I have tremendous confidence in James, Jim Dinkins, our CCNA leadership team, our bottlers and our people throughout the United States and Canada.”
Dinkins has held a variety of leadership positions in his career. “I am honored and humbled to lead CCNA during a time of great opportunity in our industry,” he said. “I am excited about James’ vision for the company, and I am thankful to Sandy for his leadership in building a strong foundation for Coca-Cola North America.”
As president of CCNA’s Minute Maid Business Unit, Dinkins leads a team that produces, sells, markets and distributes leading brands in juices, natural health beverages, chilled tea and value-added dairy. He also is chief retail sales officer for CCNA, leading a team that manages strategic relationships with global and national customers across the grocery, mass, club, drug, value, convenience and eCommerce channels in the United States.
Previously, Dinkins served in a variety of leadership roles with Coca-Cola, including senior vice president of sales in national retail sales for select grocery, club and convenience retail customers. He also was president of the 7-Eleven global customer team.
Douglas began his Coca-Cola career as a district sales manager for the foodservice division of Coca-Cola USA, where he went on to hold a variety of positions of increasing responsibility. He was named vice president of Coca-Cola USA in 1994, assuming leadership of the Coca-Cola Enterprises Sales & Marketing Group.
In 1998, his responsibilities were increased to include the entire North American Field Sales and Marketing groups. He was appointed president of the North America Retail Division in 2000. In 2003, he was appointed senior vice president and chief customer officer of The Coca-Cola Co., where he led the company’s customer and commercial leadership organization. In 2006, he was appointed president of the Coca-Cola North America Group and, in 2013, was appointed senior vice president and global chief customer officer. In 2015, he was elected an executive vice president of The Coca-Cola Co. Under Douglas’ leadership, CCNA has been the fastest-growing large consumer goods company in North America for three consecutive years, the company says.
Douglas also has been a key leader in forging mutually beneficial customer and stakeholder relationships for Coca-Cola around the world. He has served on the boards of the American Beverage Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, Coca-Cola European Partners, the East Lake Foundation and Morehouse College, among many others.
After his Coca-Cola career, Douglas is looking forward to spending time with his family as he and his wife, Jessica, create a family foundation focused on children in under-resourced communities. He also plans to continue to serve in various board-level commitments and other business activities, including as a director for Coca-Cola European Partners.