Coke PR Exec Mattia to Retire in February

Tuggle Takes on Expanded Role

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NEW YORK ( -- Tom Mattia, senior VP-worldwide public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola Co., is retiring from the position he has held since January 2006. He will be succeeded by the man that he succeeded in the role, Clyde Tuggle, currently president of the company's Russia, Ukraine and Belarus business unit.
Tom Mattia
Tom Mattia

In a Sept. 2 executive office memo sent to Coke associates worldwide, Chief Administrative Officer Alex Cummings announced that the role, which is now being called head of productivity and corporate affairs, will be expanded to oversee productivity and communications. Mr. Tuggle will also be recommended for election as a senior VP at Coke's October board meeting.

Efficiency drive
"As we intensify our focus on productivity and leveraging the work of the center functions to most effectively support our global business operations, it is critical that we have a structure that can best enable and expedite this important work," Mr. Cummings said in the memo. "In his expanded role, Clyde will have responsibility for our critically important productivity initiatives. As you know, we recently announced our commitment to deliver $400-$500 million in productivity savings over the next three years. While we have made good progress, we all know there are many more opportunities to drive organization-wide effectiveness and efficiency."

Mr. Tuggle, whose replacement has yet to be announced, will also oversee worldwide public affairs and communications, as he did from 2002 to 2005, but this time around he will also add strategic security and aviation to his duties. Coca-Cola declined to discuss the logic in connecting those seemingly unrelated duties.

Mr. Tuggle will report directly to Mr. Cummings. When Mr. Mattia first took the role in 2006, he reported directly to former CEO Neville Isdell.

Proactive communications
Mr. Mattia, 60, joined the soft-drink giant from EDS and focused on improving internal communications within Coca-Cola, creating a more proactive communications department and corporate social responsibility stance. When groups such as Dream for Darfur slammed Olympics sponsors, Coca-Cola was one of the few companies to offer a counterattack with a statement attributed to Mr. Mattia.
Clyde Tuggle
Clyde Tuggle

"One of [Mr. Mattia's] real legacies to the function will be the development of the Coca-Cola Way of PAC (Public Affairs and Communication) -- a set of strategic frameworks and tools created for each discipline within the function to enable a consistent way of doing public affairs and communications throughout the worldwide system," Mr. Cummings said in a separate memo. "Tom instilled ... a proactive mindset and encouraged his teams to more actively engage the company's key external stakeholders -- such as media, government officials, NGOs and even our detractors -- so that the company's position would always be heard and considered. This approach helped the company successfully manage several crucial issues."

Mr. Mattia's retirement will be effective February 2009, until which time he will continue to serve as an advisor to Coke.

Executives in transition
This is the second significant executive shift in less than a month under Muhtar Kent, who took the reins at the company July 1. In mid-August, as first reported on, Wendy Clark, former senior VP-advertising at AT&T, joined Coke as head of integrated marketing communications and capabilities.

In July, Mr. Cummings was elected exec VP and became chief administrative officer, a new position. Coca-Cola's treasurer, David Taggart, was named senior VP.

A Coke spokesman said neither Mr. Mattia nor Mr. Tuggle would elaborate on the internal memos.
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