Mr. Mildenhall, as VP-global marketing strategy and creative communications, will be based at Coca-Cola's headquarters in Atlanta. He heads to the U.S. from his current position as strategy director at one of Coke's most innovative agencies, Mother, in London.
His new role will be to ensure that Coca-Cola's agencies around the world deliver exceptional work on time and on budget. Mr. Mildenhall will oversee global output from a strategic, creative and operational point of view for all the company's brands, reporting directly to Chief Creative Officer Esther Lee.
To get the job, Mr. Mildenhall started as a wild card, underwent rigorous interviews and won over the Coke bosses with his intellect, enthusiasm and creative credentials.
Mother handles 85% of Coca-Cola's U.K. business, so Mr. Mildenhall, 39, has deep experience with the soft-drink giant. He also worked earlier at Lowe Worldwide on two pivotal global accounts: Smirnoff vodka and General Motors Corp.'s Vauxhall/Opel.
"Jonathan is one of the most passionate people I've met when it comes to the work-his involvement is complete," says Matthew Bull, Lowe chief creative officer. "He's the most positively infectious individual I've worked with."
Mr. Mildenhall knows the agency world well. He's worked at six London shops and managed TBWA there before joining Mother.
He almost moved to the U.S. in 2004 to run TBWA's New York office. But when that didn't work out, he quit and went to Harvard Business School for four months.
Back in London, Mr. Mildenhall almost went into the music business but turned down a job at Sony BMG because he decided that, while music is his passion, record companies aren't terribly creative places. Instead, he joined Mother as strategy director in October 2005.
The opportunity at Coca-Cola comes at the right time, Mr. Mildenhall has told friends. A confident individual, he's nonetheless preparing for the new challenge by talking to his past and current clients about their decision-making processes.
* New global post oversees agencies' work
* Ex-director of strategy at Mother hits Atlanta next January