Coca-Cola's Kronauge Now Oversees Operations and Marketing as Steckhan Retires

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Stuart Kronauge
Stuart Kronauge Credit: Courtesy Coca-Cola Co.

Coca-Cola Co.'s Stuart Kronauge got her second promotion of the year as the company shakes up leadership at two of its four North American businesses amid a key executive's retirement.

The moves announced Wednesday afternoon follow Hendrik Steckhan's decision to retire. Steckhan, who is in his mid-50s, has spent 20 years at Coca-Cola. He was named president of USA operations in December 2015, a promotion some suggested positioned him well to run the entire North American business in the near future.

Now, Kronauge has become both business unit president of USA Operations and senior VP of marketing. She had been named senior VP of marketing in January, following roughly a year as senior VP of brand marketing.

The new mouthful of a title for Kronauge means she oversees operations, brand marketing, and strategic marketing for Coca-Cola North America. She reports to Coca-Cola North American President Sandy Douglas. Previously she had reported to Steckhan.

"By combining these organizations under Stuart, we hope to continue to strengthen the connection of our brands to our commercial and franchise leadership activities," Douglas said in a statement.

In October, Coca-Cola highlighted Kronauge on its Coca-Cola Journey site following what it called an informal Q&A. At that time, her title was senior VP-brand marketing, Coca-Cola North America. In response to a question about brand loyalty, Kronauge said: "I would say that loyalty is harder to achieve than I've seen at any time in my career. "

The latest changes at Coca-Cola North America come after James Quincey became Coca-Cola Co.'s CEO on May 1. Along with the USA Operations unit, which handles bottler-delivered drinks, Coca-Cola North America includes Minute Maid, Coca-Cola's Canada business and the foodservice and on-premise business. Coca-Cola is the 13th largest advertiser worldwide and the 58th largest advertiser in the United States, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.

Also on Wednesday, Coca-Cola announced Minute Maid Business Unit President Mel Landis is moving to Atlanta for a new position, senior VP of business transformation at Coca-Cola North America. He will "lead a new initiative to focus on all aspects of CCNA effectiveness and efficiency," Douglas said.

Jim Dinkins was named president of the Minute Maid Business Unit, while also keeping his role leading national retail sales. Allison Higbie, VP of Minute Maid and Simply, was promoted to the role of VP-GM, juice. She is now responsible for marketing, juice strategy, juice innovation and Minute Maid's commercial organization.

Steckhan left his role as of Wednesday and will retire from the company July 31, Coca-Cola said.

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