USA – Coca-Cola, a leading multinational beverage company, has elected three new corporate officers effective May 1, 2023, amid higher-than-expected sales in the first quarter.

In the communique, Ellie May has been elected vice president and controller, succeeding Kathy Loveless, who is retiring on July 15 after a 35-year career with the company.

Mark Harris, who currently serves as deputy tax counsel, has been elected vice president and will become general tax counsel, succeeding Bob Jordan. Jordan is retiring on April 30 after a 29-year career with the company, including nearly 10 years in his current role.

Robin Halpern, the lead investor relations, has been elected vice president, replacing Tim Leveridge, who has taken a new role as chief financial officer for the company’s Europe operating unit.

Coca-Cola points out that May joins it from Ernst & Young LLP, where she was an audit partner serving companies in the retail and consumer products industry for more than 20 years. She also spent time in EY’s National Accounting practice in New York and capital markets and audit practices in Europe.

In these roles, she was responsible for overseeing the global audits of large multinational companies, supervising engagement teams, monitoring standard-setting activities, and developing EY’s interpretive guidance on the topic of revenue recognition.

Meanwhile, Harris has been with the company since 2006 and was promoted to deputy tax counsel earlier this year.

Before joining Coca-Cola, Harris was with EY. Before that, the Office of the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

As for Halpern, he joined the company in 2020 from Wall Street, where she covered the consumer staples sector. She served as senior vice president and managing director at Bernstein Research, where she spent 10 years as a consumer sector strategist. She held similar roles at Barclays Capital, Lehman Brothers, and UBS.

In the first quarter of 2023, Coca-Cola posted a revenue rise of 5% to US$11 billion, beating analysts’ forecast of US$10.8 billion.

Coke Chairman and CEO James Quincey said higher demand at restaurants and robust new year celebrations in China were a stark comparison with last year when a new variant of the coronavirus depressed demand.

Overall, Coke’s soft drink sales rose 3%, led by strong demand for Coke Zero Sugar. Water sales rose 5%, but demand for sports drinks fell 1%.

Coke said it’s still seeing inflation in commodity costs and wages, although freight and oil prices are coming down.

The Atlanta company expects both prices and inflation to moderate as the year progresses. Coke expects organic revenue growth of 7% to 8% this year, which would be half the 16% growth it delivered in 2022.

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