James Robert B. Quincey: Leading Coca Cola

James Robert B. Quincey: Leading Coca Cola

Purnima Narang || The CEO Magazine

James Robert B. Quincey is a leading British-origin businessman in the United States responsible for the position of chairman and chief executive officer CEO of Coca Cola. The American multinational corporation is a manufacturer, retailer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The 127 years old company was established on January 29, 1892, and has been serving millions of its customers ever since.

James has been a part of the company since 1996 when he joined Coca-Cola and later held various positions in the company.


James Robert B. Quincey was born on 8 January 1965 in London, England, and lived in Hanover, New Hampshire, US for three years. His father was a lecturer in biochemistry at Dartmouth College. He moved to Birmingham, England at the age of 5 years old and attended the King Edward’s School, Birmingham and has a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from the University of Liverpool.

In the initial years of his career, he worked at a small consultancy firm along with Brian & Co. after which he joined Coca Cola. James has contributed to the company in various parts of the world including Latin America, Mexico where he led the acquisition of Jugos del Valle, a Mexican producer of fruit juices and beverages.

He eventually became the president of Northwest Europe and Nordics Business Unit. He served the company from 2008 until 2012 as the president of the Coca-Cola’s Europe Group. In Europe, he oversaw the company’s acquisition with Innocent Drinks, along with the sale and consolidation of Coca-Cola’s bottling operations. From 2013 to 2015, he continued to lead the company and expand the brand portfolio and improved market share. Coke made him the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in August 2015 and he later became the president of the group.

He changed the management and the entire Coke hierarchy and outlined a plan to have five category clusters for brands in the company. He was named CEO of the company in December 2016 and took over the responsibility in following May when Mukhtar Kent retired.

He led the company with a clear vision and started his action plan towards the growth of the company as soon as he became the CEO. One of his first acts as the CEO were to reduce 1200 corporate positions as a part of the plan to invest in new products and marketing. He stored that year’s revenue and profit growth from four to six per cent.

Quincey planned to transform the company’s culture from being over-cautiousness concerning risk. He intended to further diversify Coke’s portfolio by accelerating investments in startup businesses. He later launched a plan to recycle a bottle for every bottle sold by 2030. On April 24, 2019, he was elected Chairman of the Board. He has also worked towards making the brand more sustainable and launched a plan to recycle a bottle for every bottle sold by 2030.

Leading the brand from so many years in several leadership roles around the world, Quincey is continuing his journey and bringing evolution to the beverage company.

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