Coke Chief Urges Business Leaders to Bang Free Trade Drum

17 September 2007

ATLANTA: Coca-Cola Company ceo Neville Isdell (pictured) believes he and his fellow captains of industry must do more to promote the cause of globalization or suffer the consequences of US protectionism.

In an interview with the UK's Financial Times , Isdell (64), who emerged from retirement three years ago to steer the soft drinks titan out of its doldrums, says America's business leaders must be more vociferous about the benefits of free trade.

The issue is a thorny one, with many political opponents keen to pull up the drawbridge ahead of Asia's growing economic might.

Isdell, however, accuses such doubters of "economic illiteracy", and says free trade must be boosted or the global economy will wither.

In addition, he made known his desire to carry on at the helm of Coke beyond the company's unofficial retirement age, declaring: "I don't think age is a factor. Look at the age of the people who are running today for president. There's a new era here. The 65 age thing is out of date."

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff