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Coca-Cola Beats PepsiCo to Myanmar as Nooyi Succession Plan Comes Into Focus

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 11, 2012 05:36 PM

"Has Coca Cola ceased to be a mere brand and evolved into a historically important cultural artifact?" That question was tweeted by Duncan Jones, David Bowie's son who is better known these days as an award-winning filmmaker. Jones included a link to a BBC story on this week's historic return of the Coke brand to Myanmar, making its first delivery in more than 60 years.

"The Coca-Cola Company has been a part of the community fabric in countries around the world for decades," stated Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "In every nation and city where we do business, our employees strive to create economic value and build sustainable communities. We are privileged to once again have the opportunity to play a role in building a better future with the people of Myanmar."

In addition to referencing the Coca-Cola brand's position as the #1 brand in Interbrand's 2011 Best Global Brands report, the BBC notes that there are now "only two countries where Coca-Cola is not officially bought or sold - Cuba and North Korea ... due to trade embargoes with the US."

PepsiCo, meanwhile, last month signed its own distribution agreement to distribute Pepsi and its other beverage brands in the former Burma, with CEO Indra Nooyi commenting, "Over time, we believe we can build a strong business in Myanmar and play a positive role in the country's continued development."

Whatever that future holds, Nooyi announced other news today that impacts her company's continued development and her own succession plans: the resignation of PepsiCo president John Compton.

He's being replaced by Geneva-based PepsiCo Europe CEO Zein Abdalla, who is relocating to company HQ in Purchase, NY, and in turn handing over his office and title to Enderson Guimaraes, the current President of PepsiCo's Global Nutrition Group.

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