Muhtar Kent is the new CEO at Coke. This blog had commented on the changes at Coke earlier this year and the elevation of Mr. Kent to CEO is indeed a great development. Not only is Muhtar Kent, of Turkish origin, eminently qualified but his elevation signals Coke's diversity comeback . It also makes good business sense. Good business sense because as Fortune reports, Muhtar Kent led the Coke efforts in Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall and should be able to lead the market expansion in emerging markets of the developing world. These markets have been called the "Bottom of Pyramid"(BoP) and involve most of the world where per capita income is low but human aspirations are high. A person drinks soda as a special treat and serving sizes are low ( about 6 -8 fl. oz. vs. 12 fl.oz. in the US) to keep soda affordable. These markets use bottles not merely because of "green" concerns but because a large unskilled labor pool is able to move bottles at low cost across the distribution chain. Growth for US consumer products will come from these markets and the CEO must understand how these markets actually work.
Pepsi in the meanwhile has India born Indra Nooyi at the helm and the BoP Cola wars should be interesting.