Chuck Fruit to Replace Daniel Palumbo

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CHICAGO ( -- Chuck Fruit, Coca-Cola's vice president of integrated marketing, has been named the company's new chief marketing officer. He replaces the outgoing Daniel Palumbo.

Mr. Palumbo is the third major executive

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new CEO Neville Isdell has replaced since taking over at the soft-drink giant. Mr. Palumbo was brought in by Steve Heyer, president and chief operating officer, who also will leave the company after being passed over for the spot now held by Mr. Isdell.

Led media consolidation
Mr. Fruit, who joined the company in 1991 as head of global media services, is a 30-year industry veteran who also held senior posts with Anheuser-Busch, as well as with advertising and media agencies. He led the Coca-Cola's recent media services consolidation under the guidance of Mr. Heyer. He has been in charge of the company's global media and sponsorships and was acting marketing chief in 2003.

Mr. Fruit initially will report to Mr. Heyer, and then directly to Mr. Isdell.

In a memo distributed this morning to employees, Mr. Isdell said he had focused his time on talking with employees, strengthening the bottling system and listening to customers.

In discussing marketing with Messrs. Fruit and Heyer, Mr. Isdell said that over the past 50 years while "the 30-second television spot has defined our brands," its impact "has diminished," he said. "Today's consumer and media environments call for a more multifaceted and integrated approach to marketing, from our consumer communications to the point of sale and all the way through to opening a bottle of Coca-Cola. Creativity is vital, and so is a broader, holistic view of how to reach our consumers."

Coke's agency partners
Coca-Cola's $350 million domestic advertising media account is with Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group. The lead U.S. agency for advertising on the Classic Coke brand is Berlin Cameron & Partners/Red Cell, New York, part of WPP Group. Diet Coke is handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote Cone & Belding, New York.

Mr. Isdell earlier appointed Irial Finan, the former CEO of Coca-Cola HBC, Coke's Athens-based bottler, as president of bottling investments at Coca-Cola, a newly created post. He also hired Cynthia McCague as director of human resources. She was group human resources director for Coca-Cola HBC. Mr. Isdell had been CEO of Coca-Cola HBC; he left the company in 2001 before returning in May.

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