Took Over Top Marketing Post in 2004

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CHICAGO ( -- Coca-Cola Co.’s chief marketing officer, Chuck Fruit, is planning to leave the company as early as the end of the year, according to executives close to the marketer.

Coca-Cola CMO Chuck Fruit is planning to leave the company.
Mr. Fruit, 58, couldn’t be reached for comment, but he had been planning to retire before he was elevated to the post in 2004, executives said.

Mary Minnick
Up until May, when Coke elevated Mary Minnick to executive vice president and president of marketing, strategy and innovation, Mr. Fruit was the highest-ranking marketing executive for the beverage giant.

“Chuck has not made any decisions as to when he plans to leave,” a Coca-Cola spokesman said.

Prior to her promotion, Ms. Minnick ran Coca-cola's Asia operations, and so-called functional beverages -- like drinks to cure hangovers and eliminate bad breath -- and technology innovations were hallmarks of Ms. Minnick's tenure in the region.

Innovation in Asia
Coca-Cola has been a hotbed of innovation in Asia, introducing about 100 products annually. Coca-Cola is marketing products from sophisticated teas to inexpensive fruit drinks, as well as quirky soft-drink twists such as ginger-flavored Sprite in mainland China. Other concoctions are on the way, including drinks made with soy extracts "that would be acceptable to most palates all over the world," Ms. Minnick told analysts in April.

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