Ex-HBC boss to lead Coke

Former Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Chief Executive E. Neville Isdell was named late on Tuesday as the chief executive of Coca-Cola Inc. He will replace Douglas Daft, who will retire at the end of next month. Isdell, 60, started working for Coca-Cola in Zambia, in 1966, and has held posts in Asia, Oceania and Europe. He left the company in 1998 to become chairman of Coca-Cola Beverages, a company that later merged with Hellenic Bottling Company to form what was at the time the world’s second-largest Coca-Cola bottler. Analysts said yesterday that the positives of hiring the veteran insider include support from Coke’s bottlers, a limited learning period, no change in strategy and a potential boost to morale. On the other hand, Isdell is not well known by investors, and is unlikely to aggressively take on the board of directors to initiate change. (AFP)