US giants get UK makeover: More Britons in top roles at US companies as Coca-Cola names James Quincey president and COO

Clara Guibourg
Follow Clara
Coca-Cola is battling drooping soda sales (Source: Getty)

Britons are taking the helm at US companies, with Coca-Cola the latest to follow in this trend.

The soda giant promoted London-based James Quincey to president and chief operating officer of the company, a promotion that comes hot on the heels of Watford-born Steve Easterbrook taking over at McDonald’s.

A Coke veteran of 19 years, 50-year-old Quincey has been running the soda giant’s European operations since 2013.

Muhtar Kent, the company’s chief executive, complimented his “impressive track record” of strategic accomplishments:

His wealth of experience across our global system, particularly in Europe and Latin America, will be a valuable asset as we continue to accelerate growth through our 2020 Vision and our previously announced five strategic actions.

Quincey’s new executive role was announced just months after fellow Briton Steve Easterbrook took over as McDonald’s chief executive this spring. Easterbrook, also a company veteran, made the move west after spending two decades at the fast food giant’s British headquarters, having been tasked with stemming flagging sales.

Quincey faces similar challenges at Coca-Cola, as the beverage company faces headwinds in a transition period. Soda sales are tumbling and the company is combating this by boosting drinks like ice tea and bottled water, but the latest earnings report showed revenue down 3.3 per cent.

Thursday’s promotion puts Quincey in line to eventually take over when current chief executive Muhtar Kent retires.

Related articles