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M. Douglas Ivester was elevated to chairman-CEO of Coca-Cola Co. last week, following the death of Roberto Goizueta. But the company said Mr. Ivester's previous post as president would not be filled at this time.


The company offered no timetable, nor did it indicate who's in the running for second-in-command.

Those under consideration are said to include Senior VP-Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Zyman and North American Group President Jack Stahl; as well as E. Neville Isdell, president of the Greater Europe Group; and Douglas N. Daft, president of the Middle East/Far East Group.

Mr. Zyman's inclusion is complicating the selection pro-cess, according to executives close to the beverage giant.

Mr. Zyman is said to want the post and, within the company, is perhaps viewed as the most colorful partner for Mr. Ivester.


With his expertise in marketing, however, he lacks operations experience. Mr. Ivester was instrumental in bringing Mr. Zyman back to the company four years ago. Mr. Zyman had left Coca-Cola in 1986 to become a consultant, following the hugely successful launch of Diet Coke and the equally disastrous introduction of New Coke.


"I believe Doug has a great deal of faith in Sergio. The 'Always Coca-Cola' campaign is popular with the bottlers," said John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, referring to the ongoing ad campaign for the Coke brand.

The company spent some $1.4 billion on global advertising last year. Its agency roster includes in-house Edge Creative, Santa Monica, Calif.; Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis; McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Fallon McElligott Berlin and Lowe & Partners, all New York; and more than 20 others worldwide.


Al Ries, chairman of Ries & Ries, a marketing consultancy, believes Mr. Zyman, probably won't be tapped to replace Mr. Ivester as president.

"Unfortunately for Sergio, I think when you're really good at one specific thing, you tend not to be perceived as a generalist," said Mr. Ries.

Mr. Ivester's challenge will be to pick a partner who can help him grow the company as he helped Mr. Goizueta-who in 16 years saw Coca-Cola Co. go from $4 billion in sales to some $150 billion today.

"His challenge is maintaining the momentum the company has had for the last several years," said Mr. Sicher.

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