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Coca-Cola names Kent to chief executive position

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA Coca-Cola Co.’s president and chief operating officer is set to become the beverage giant’s new chief executive officer.

Muhtar Kent will replace Neville Isdell as CEO on July 1, 2008, the company announced Thursday.

Kent, who has broad experience in international company management, said he would continue an existing strategy of reviving brands, expanding overseas operations and acquiring new brands. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and COO of the company in December 2006.

Kent will continue to serve as president of the company when he acquires the chief executive position next year.

Isdell will continue in the dual capacity of chairman of the board of directors and CEO until that date and remain chairman until April 2009.

“The opportunity to lead The Coca-Cola Company is an extraordinary honor, and I am grateful to the board for the confidence it has placed in me,” Kent said. “I look forward to building on the strong foundation for sustainable growth that we have set in place for the Coca-Cola system around the world.”

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Jones Soda chairman/CEO Peter van Stolk to step down

BY Allison Cerra

SEATTLE Peter van Stolk will remain on as a member of the board of directors, while board members Scott Bedbury and Steve Jones will take on the interim positions of chairman and chief executive officer respectively, while the company conducts a search for a new chief executive officer.

“It has been a true honor being so intimately involved with such a special Company like Jones Soda,” van Stolk said. “Over the past 11 years the Company has grown from a small niche player in the beverage industry into a leading brand with national recognition and powerful portfolio of products.”

Prior to joining Jones Soda, board member Jones spent 17 years with The Coca-Cola Company serving most recently as the corporation’s chief marketing officer and chief executive officer of The Minute Maid Company.

Interim chairman of the board Bedbury is currently chief executive officer of Brandstream, an independent brand development consultancy he founded in 1998. He is also responsible for Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, and Starbucks’ repositioning as a comfortable “third place” between home and work.

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Jamba Juice to be sold in retail stores

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Confectioner and beverage producer Nestle USA are taking the ever-popular Jamba Juice drinks right to grocery stores near you.

Jamba Inc., the operator of the Jamba Juice chain, has entered a licensing deal with Nestle, a new venture for the juice company, which has never been sold beyond its own retail stores, according to published sources.

According to reports, Nestle’s expansion of its ready-to-drink beverage category will be taken into grocery store. Eight Western U.S. states will be carrying the beverages next year.

“We’ve always felt the Jamba Juice brand was highly extendable,” said Paul Clayton, chief executive of Jamba Juice, based in Emeryville, Calif. “It was just a matter of us finding the right partner.”

Two types of Jamba Juice fruit drinks will be offered in supermarkets in California, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and Colorado in the second quarter of 2008 and later will be expanded to other states and into new channels, such as convenience stores, according to Rob Case, president of Nestle USA’s beverage division.

Nestle USA, a unit of Nestle SA, Vevey, Switzerland, will manufacture and distribute the drinks. Nestle may eventually sell Jamba Juice beverages in other countries, where the company now mostly sells powdered drinks.

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