Heyer Anointed Coca-Cola Heir Apparent

13 December 2002

Coca-Cola’s president of new ventures Steven Heyer (50) was named Wednesday as the global giant’s new president and chief operating officer – a role widely seen as chairman/ceo designate.

Joining the company from Turner Broadcasting less than two years back, Heyer is the first ‘outsider’ ever to rise to such heady heights in the Coke hierarchy. But he disclaims all ambition to inherit the mantle of incumbent Douglas Daft (59), appointed chairman/ceo in a boardroom putsch three years ago. “It’s a thrill, and I'm not looking beyond it,” Heyer insisted.

But there’s no pleasing everyone. Especially State Street Research analyst Maureen Depp : “There's not this sort of groundswell of needing to anoint Heyer as chief operating officer,” she said. “With the key issues facing the company, it’s not necessary at this point.”

Another entrail-raker, John Faucher at J P Morgan Chase, opined: “Coke is not a manufacturer, it is a marketing company and [it] hasn’t been a good marketing company in ten years.”

He will doubtless be relieved to learn that Heyer is currently masterminding the creation of a major Coke ad campaign due to break January.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff