The Coca-Cola Company announced several key changes in top leadership, including the election of a new president and chief operating officer and a succession plan for the chief financial officer.

The board of directors elected Brian Smith to serve as president and COO, effective Jan. 1, 2019. He will report to James Quincey, the company’s CEO. Smith is a 21-year Coca-Cola veteran who currently serves as president of the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) group.

The appointment of a president and COO will allow Quincey, who has served as CEO since May 2017 and is a member of the board of directors, to focus on the overall long-term strategic direction and success of the company. Smith is well-equipped to lead the company’s field operations and bring an accelerated focus on executing against key strategies, due to his deep knowledge of the global Coca-Cola system, strong relationships with bottlers and customers and a proven track record of leadership.

John Murphy, who currently serves as president of the company’s Asia Pacific group, will become senior vice president and deputy CFO on Jan. 1, 2019. He will be elevated to executive vice president and CFO on March 16, 2019, following the retirement of Kathy Waller.

New Chief Technical Officer appointed

The company also announced that Nancy Quan was elected senior vice president and appointed Chief Technical Officer, effective Jan. 1, 2019, reporting to Quincey. She currently serves as a vice president for the company and Chief Technical Officer for Coca-Cola North America. 

Quan has worked for the company for 11 years. Read her bio.

Quan succeeds Ed Hays, who will retire from the company on March 31, 2019. Hays will transition to a role as senior advisor on Jan. 1, 2019, reporting to Quincey. Hays, who has served as senior vice president and CTO since 2015, joined the company in 1985.

Nancy Quan currently is the Chief Technical Officer for The Coca-Cola Company’s North American businesses. Her areas of responsibility include Research & Development; Transformational Innovation; Technical Commercialization; Quality, Safety and Environment; and Scientific and Regulatory Affairs.

Quan and her team’s responsibilities include partnering with the businesses to create, drive and execute an impactful innovation and growth agenda; commercializing successful solutions throughout the supply chain; ensuring effective, forward-looking governance and stewardship; and protecting the business with strategic scientific and regulatory solutions and strong advocacy.

Prior to this role, Quan held the role of Global R&D Officer for The Coca Cola Company, where she was responsible for setting the global R&D vision, strategy and priorities. Quan’s responsibilities also included leading the Corporate Research and Engineering functions and overseeing the External Technology Acquisition (ETA) function, through which Coca-Cola structures strategic partnerships with universities, research centers, technology start-ups, and others to source technologies for sustained competitive advantage.

Quan joined Coca-Cola in 2007 as R&D General Manager for Europe and Eurasia Group, based in Belgium. Following this, she moved to Atlanta, where she took on the role of Vice President Innovation. Quan then moved to Shanghai, China, to take on the role of Vice President R&D, Pacific Group, responsible for the Shanghai, Japan and India R&D centers.

Quan has extensive experience leading R&D and innovation organizations around the world. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Quan worked with Mars Inc. and held leadership roles spanning across R&D, Quality, Business Development and Manufacturing.

Quan’s career has been global and multi-cultural in nature, as she has built strong teams across a range of countries and cultures, including the US, the U.K., The Netherlands, Belgium, China, Japan, India and Australia.

Quan is a graduate of Purdue University. She previously served as co-chair of the Coca-Cola United Way campaign and is a Tocqueville society member. In her career, she has received various recognitions, including: Top 40 Women in Innovation, Outstanding Alumni Award, was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, Nutrition Department, at Purdue.

She serves on the Industry Affiliates Advisory Board for the University of California, Davis, MBA Program, Food & Ag Sector; is on the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Executive Committee for the Grocery Manufacturers Association; the (R)Tech Advisory Council for the Retail Industry Leaders Association; and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Liberty Mutual Group, the parent company of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.