Source AP ©

Coca-Cola CEO Isdell to step down July 1

Coca-cola’s president and chief operating officer, Muhtar Kent, will take place of Neville Isdell when he steps down as CEO on July, 1.

Isdell will remain chairman of the board until the company's annual meeting in April 2009.

"We have accomplished a great deal in the last three and a half years, and I recognize my responsibilities - to the company and to Muhtar - remain unfinished until Muhtar is successfully launched as CEO," Neville Isdell said in a statement. "Management succession is the key final measure of any CEO's success, and I will do all I can to ensure our progress is secure for many years ahead."

Kent first joined Coca-Cola in 1978 and served in a variety of positions until 1998, when he left to become president and CEO of Efes Beverage Group, one of Europe's largest international beverage businesses. He returned to Coca-Cola in May 2005 as president of the North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and chief operating officer of the company in December 2006.

As COO, Kent has overseen a number of significant initiatives, including the acquisition of glaceau earlier this year. He will continue to hold the title of president.