Coca-Cola India, it seems, is
heading for a huge restructuring in its operations. Industry sources told agencyfaqs! late last evening that the soft drinks major would be splitting its bottling operations and marketing functions.
The loss-making bottling operations, which roughly accounts for three-fourths of Coca-Cola India's business, will be apparently headed by John Eustace, while Sanjiv Gupta, currently Coca-Cola India president, will be looking after the concentrate business, relationship with bottlers, marketing and bottling of new products. Eustace has come from Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, one of the world's largest bottler of Coke products.
There are unconfirmed reports that Gupta, unhappy with the turn of events, is considering to put in his papers. Gupta, 44, had joined the company in 1997 as its marketing head. When Gupta took over as CEO in July 2003, he was the second Indian to head Coca-Cola in India. The first was American-Indian Jaidev Raja.
In a related development, according to industry sources, a few financial irregularities have been unearthed after the top brass decided to run an audit on Coca-Cola India functions, and it seems a few heads in the finance department may roll now. Sources said the soft drinks major may bring in an expatriate as the Chief Financial Officer now.
Sources say the Coca-Cola top brass - APAC chief Patrick Siewert and president of Bottling Investments, Irial Finan - are in India to take stock of Indian operations.
Over the past one week or so, there has been intense speculation over the restructuring of Coca-Cola India's businesses.
India, according to sources, is one of the few markets across the world where Coca-Cola's bottling and marketing organisations are managed by the regional head. Sanjiv Gupta, as Coca-Cola India president, handled the overall responsibility for the beverage behemoth.
Of the 50-odd Coke bottling plants in the country, 24 are company-owned, while the rest are owned by franchisees. Coca-Cola's bottling operations are handled by its 51 per cent subsidiary Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages.
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