Coca-Cola Enterprises announced changes to its senior management team, including the retirement of chief operating officer G. David Van Houten, Jr., the appointment of Shaun B. Higgins to president, European Group, and the naming of William W. Douglas as chief financial officer.
"We are fortunate that some of the industry's strongest operators have developed their careers at Coca-Cola Enterprises. Our leadership continues to set industry standards," said John R. Alm, president and chief executive officer. "The talent and flexibility of our senior management team allow us to leverage their strengths and demonstrate the breadth of their capabilities by placing them in new roles and responsibilities."
Executive vice president and chief operating officer David Van Houten will retire by the end of 2005, and the process has begun for the selection of his successor. "David's three decades in the Coca-Cola bottling business have been distinguished by outstanding operational excellence and exemplary leadership in developing people," said Alm. "David is a highly respected industry leader who is recognized as one of the premier operators in the Coca-Cola system. We are fortunate to have had the benefit of his talent and insight since our company's inception."
A 34-year veteran of the Coca-Cola system, Van Houten began his career with Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1986 as president and general manager of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of North Texas. He then held positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president and general manager for the Texas region and president of the Western North American Group, until he was named executive vice president and president of the North American Business Unit in June of 2001. Van Houten became chief operating officer in February 2004.
Shaun Higgins will rejoin the Coca-Cola Enterprises European Group as president, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Dominique Reiniche, who recently was named president of The Coca-Cola Company's European Union Group. With more than 27 years of experience in the soft drink industry, Higgins has in-depth knowledge of Coca-Cola Enterprises' North American and European operations, having previously served as group president of Coca-Cola Enterprises Europe and president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola Beverages Canada Ltd. "Shaun is one of our most seasoned veterans with a track record of success in Europe," said Alm. "Dominique Reiniche and Shaun Higgins will make a powerful team who understand the challenges of the changing European marketplace and are committed to its long-term growth."
William W. Douglas will become chief financial officer. Douglas joined the Coca-Cola system in 1985, contributing leadership skills to a number of European senior management roles, including his position as chief financial officer of Coca-Cola HBC, one of the world's largest Coca-Cola bottlers.
Charles Lischer will replace Douglas in his current role as controller and principal accounting officer. Since 1991, Lischer has progressed through a number of key roles at Deloitte and Touche, most recently serving as a national office partner in the Accounting and Standards Group in the Wilton, Conn., office.
Scott Anthony, currently vice president, investor relations, will assume additional responsibility for the corporate planning process and has been named vice president, investor relations and planning. Anthony joined Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1990 and has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in finance including capital planning and acquisitions. He has led investor relations since 2000 and was named vice president, investor relations in 2003.
Mark Schortman was elected an officer and named vice president, North American Sales, assuming leadership for the Customer Management Group currently led by Daniel Marr, who will retire by the end of the year. Schortman has 22 years of experience in the Coca-Cola system, including his most recent position as head of the Planning and Revenue Management Group. Prior to this role, he served as region vice president and general manager for Great Britain, where he also chaired the European Customer Council. Schortman's career has included a wide range of corporate and global positions, including director of operational marketing, director of sales development for The Coca-Cola Company in Canada, vice president of national sales for Coca-Cola Beverages, and vice president and general manager for the Ontario, Canada and Rocky Mountain divisions.
Schortman and Marr will work closely together over the next several months to assure a smooth transition process, the company assures. Following his retirement, Marr has agreed to serve as a consultant providing advice and expertise on global customer strategy. "During his career at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dan has built one of the industry's most dynamic customer service groups," said Alm. "He is well-respected by our retail customers, and his contributions have helped us win some of the industry's highest customer service honors." He began his career with Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1988, holding a number of positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president/general manager in Houston, Texas, and vice president of marketing for Coca-Cola Enterprises. In January 2000, he was promoted to senior vice president, chief customer officer, and in October 2003, he was promoted to president, North American Sales.
Hal Kravitz was elected an officer and named vice president, business development and chief revenue officer. With 22 years of experience in the Coca-Cola system, Kravitz will be responsible for revenue management, business planning, channel and sales operations, and category development. After several roles of increasing responsibility at Coca-Cola North America, Kravitz served as the Eastern Group vice president of field sales and marketing prior to becoming Southeast Region vice president and general manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises.
William Hartman will assume the duties of Margaret Carton, vice president, information technology, who is leaving Coca-Cola Enterprises. "Margaret has made numerous contributions to our company in the areas of investor relations and information technology, and we appreciate her many years of service," stated Alm. Hartman's background includes over 30 years of consulting and business experience, and he is currently group president of Brand Velocity Inc., a consulting company based in Atlanta. Prior to joining Brand Velocity, Hartman was managing director of the products group for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.
Guy Thomas, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations, will retire by the end of the year after spending his entire career in the soft drink industry. Thomas began at Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1986 as a director of marketing with the North Texas division and was promoted to region vice president of the entire Texas/Mid-South region in 1996. After serving as vice president for the Central North American Group and vice president for the West region of the North American Group, Thomas was named vice president, U.S. Sales Operations in 2004.
Bob Gray, senior vice president, operations and capital planning will retire by the end of 2005. Gray joined Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1992 as the vice president of information systems. In 1997, he was named group chief financial officer of the European Group before becoming senior vice president, operations and capital planning in 2000.
"The Coca-Cola system has benefited from more than 30 combined years of leadership from Guy and Bob," said Alm. "Their invaluable knowledge of the industry and the bottling system has helped strengthen Coca-Cola Enterprises."