ATLANTA: Speculation is increasing that the Coca-Cola Company has anointed a successor to veteran chairman/ceo Neville Isdell (63) in the shape of Muhtar Kent, elevated to president and chief operating officer.

Kent is currently head of Coke's international unit, which generated nearly 80% of the company's operating income last year. His rise to the number two position underscores the soft drinks titan's emphasis on foreign sales.

Industry observers caution, however, that Kent who took on the international role less than a year ago, has yet to demonstrate he is up to captaining the Coke ship.

He and his boss are remaining zip-lipped on the matter of succession.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff