October 18, 2018 / 3:20 PM / a year ago

Coca-Cola names company veteran Brian Smith chief operating officer

FILE PHOTO: Aluminium Coca-Cola cans are seen at a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

(Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) on Thursday appointed company veteran Brian Smith as its chief operating officer, a role that has been vacant since former COO James Quincey became chief executive officer last year.

Smith, 62, joined the beverage company in 1997 and is currently president of its Europe, Middle East and Africa group, which has generated organic revenue growth in every quarter during the last two years.

In a previous role leading Coke’s Latin America business, Smith oversaw the company’s acquisitions of several brands, including AdeS in Argentina and Santa Clara in Mexico.

“(Smith) is the ideal person to steer the in-market executional leadership of the company, which will allow me to focus on the strategic direction of Coca-Cola as we continue to evolve as a total beverage company,” Quincey said in a statement.

Coca-Cola also announced that Chief Financial Officer Kathy Waller is retiring after a 32-year tenure at the company. John Murphy, the president of Coke’s Asia-Pacific unit, will replace her.

Smith’s appointment is effective from January, while Murphy will become CFO in March.

Coca-Cola also named insider Nancy Quan as chief technical officer.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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