December 7, 2007 - The Coca-Cola Company announced that Muhtar Kent will take over as the company’s Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2008.
Mr. Kent joined the company in 1978 and held a variety of senior positions. He left the company in 1999 to serve as president and CEO of the Turkish company Efes Beverage Group, which under his leadership grew into one of Europe’s largest international beverage businesses. He returned to Coca-Cola in 2005 to serve as president and chief operating officer of the company's North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group and later as the company’s president and chief operating officer.
The company’s current CEO, Neville Isdell, said that Kent has a “combination of industry knowledge, passion for operational excellence, strategic vision and high level of interpersonal skills is the ideal blend to take our Company forward," and that he "is an outstanding example of the deep, talented group of individuals who populate our global system.”
Mr. Kent holds a bachelor of science degree in economics from Hull University, England, and a master of science degree in administrative sciences from London City University.
Muhtar Kent is also the son of Ambassador Nezih Kent (1911-2002). Ambassador Kent was among the Turkish diplomats honored as “Righteous Among Nations” by Israel for his role in the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. As Turkey’s Consul General to Marseilles between 1941 to 1944, Nezih Kent saved hundreds of Jews by claiming their safe release from Nazi forces as Turkish citizens and by providing Jews who had even a distant connection to Turkey with identification documents. On one occasion, he boarded a train destined for concentration camps and refused to disembark until the German officers allowed him to leave with some 70 Jews, who he asserted were citizens of Turkey.