Feb 20 Coca-Cola Co said on Thursday that
Chief Financial Officer Gary Fayard would retire in May, and it
named Kathy Waller, controller, to succeed him as CFO.
Fayard, 62, has been CFO for about 15 years. Waller, 55,
joined Coke in 1987 from Deloitte.
"Gary's a great guy, he's been a great CFO. He doesn't just
know the numbers, he can describe the company's strategy as well
as an operating guy," said Kevin Dryer, a portfolio manager at
Gabelli Funds LLC.
The announcement from the world's biggest soda company came
hours after rival PepsiCo was hit with a renewed push
from billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz to split its
challenged North American beverage business from its more robust
Coke and PepsiCo are grappling with declining soda sales in
the United States, as increasingly health-conscious consumers
opt for alternatives like bottled water and tea.
Coca-Cola's chief executive, Muhtar Kent, is scheduled to
speak at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in
Boca Raton, Florida, on Friday.
Some conference attendees expect Kent to discuss Coke's
plans to refranchise some of its bottling operations following
the 2010 acquisition of its North American bottler, which was
aimed at cutting costs, speeding innovation and turning around a
sagging market. PepsiCo did a similar deal.
While Coke and Pepsi have traditionally moved together on
major initiatives, they are currently out of step. Coke has been
open about its plan to ultimately franchise its North American
bottler, while PepsiCo has not.
PepsiCo says it has carefully weighed a variety of corporate
changes, ranging from a spin-off of North American beverages to
the sale of some bottling operations.
It has said that its current structure was best for
shareholders since the interplay between North American snacks
and beverages benefit its overall business.
Coke's shares closed up 0.5 percent at $37.30 on the New
York Stock Exchange on Thursday.