Coke Exec Quits After Rigged Promo Row

27 August 2003

The boss of the Coca-Cola division at the centre of the recent rigged promotion scandal has stepped down.

Tom Moore, head of the beverage behemoth’s food services division, will be replaced by Chris Lowe, Coke’s chief marketing officer for North America. The outgoing executive will stay on for now “to ensure a smooth transition” – though Coke failed to disclose how long this hand-over period will last or where he will go next.

Moore’s fountain unit was recently at the heart of a row with Burger King over an experimental promotion for Frozen Coke that the two firms conducted in Richmond (Virginia) in 2000.

Allegations about the running of the test surfaced earlier this year as part of a lawsuit filed by ex-Coke executive Matthew Whitley [WAMN: 21-May-03]. After an internal investigation, the cola giant admitted that some employees “improperly influenced” the outcome of the promotion to make it look successful.

It has emerged that in 2001 Moore rebuffed calls from Whitley and an internal auditor to sack the head of Coke’s BK account team over the rigged experiment. Along with other executives, he also decided not to inform the burger giant of the Frozen Coke fiasco.

Coke recently agreed to pay an irate BK over $21 million (€19.4m; £13.4m) in compensation [WAMN: 14-Aug-03]. A federal investigation into the matter is ongoing.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff