Coca-Cola Adds North American Content VP

Former Global Exec Emmanuel Seuge Follows Wendy Clark to North America

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Emmanuel Seuge
Emmanuel Seuge

Another high-ranking global Coca-Cola executive is moving to the beverage giant's North American division, which is seeking to improve its marketing while overcoming sluggish soda trends.

Emmanuel Seuge, currently the marketer's global VP for alliances and ventures, will take over as senior VP-content in North America beginning Jan. 1, according to an internal memo. He will report to Wendy Clark, who on June 1 became president-sparkling and strategic marketing for Coca-Cola North America, after a stint leading the company's global sparkling brand center.

The senior VP of content role is a new one for Coca-Cola North America. The creation of the position is a signal of Ms. Clark's strategic priorities as she settles into the new position and assembles her team.

"With our stepped-up brand investment levels, nothing could be more important than the caliber of our content," she said in the internal memo, which was shared with Ad Age. "Compelling, 'shareworthy,' persuasive and impactful content at leadership weight levels has proven to move our brands and our business. Our ambition is nothing less."

She wrote that "the world has changed and the future of content is here," noting that 100 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day, 500 million tweets are sent daily and that the gaming industry takes in $70 billion in annual revenues. Meanwhile, she said that music content is "the most watched form of all online content." Mr. Segue will be charged with helping to "harness" the growing role of all that content and capturing "consumer engagement that will lead to brand love and consumption," she wrote.

Mr. Seuge, who last year was inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Advertising Hall of Achievement, joined Coca-Cola France in 1997 and has held various roles at the company spanning marketing, communications and partnerships. As VP of global alliances and ventures, he oversaw partnerships related to big events such as the Olympics and World Cup. Most recently he led the creation of more than 32 local versions of the company's "The World Is Ours" World Cup anthem. Coca-Cola declined to comment on the future status of the position. A lot could depend on the direction taken by Marcos de Quinto, who was recently named Coca-Cola's global chief marketing officer and will start on Jan. 1.

Mr. Seuge's appointment rounds out Ms. Clark's three-person integrated marketing communications leadership team, which also includes Ivan Pollard, senior-VP for connections and assets (another former global executive); and James Sommerville, who is VP of design.

All three men will retain some global responsibilities, though, signaling that Ms. Clark is maintaining some global influence and power even as she oversees North American marketing. For instance, Mr. Segue will provide global "thought leadership and capability advancement," according to the memo. He will also continue to oversee global music, entertainment and gaming partnerships.

Mr. Seuge, along with Mr. Pollard, previously reported to Katie Bayne, a former North American executive who took Ms. Clark's former global role earlier this year. (Both men had reported to Ms. Clark when she had the global role.)

The changes come as Coca-Cola, like other big beverage companies, combats shrinking soda sales that have suffered in part as a result of health concerns. In October, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent vowed to reduce expenses by $3 billion a year by 2019. Still, he has highlighted the importance of marketing investments, noting that "there's no question we need to improve our execution in many markets, especially our consumer marketing and commercial strategies."

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