Coca Cola's top marketing man leaves the company

- Sergio Zyman, the flamboyant and controversial chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola, has finally quit the soft drinks empire, ending weeks of speculation that he was unhappy in his role.

- Sergio Zyman, the flamboyant and controversial chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola, has finally quit the soft drinks empire, ending weeks of speculation that he was unhappy in his role.

Zyman is famous in the advertising industry for sweeping away Coke's old system of using giant agency networks, notably the Interpublic-owned McCann-Erickson, for its advertising.

Instead, Zyman cherry-picked an ad hoc assortment of film-makers, designers and advertising agencies during his tenure as marketing chief.

His departure has therefore left observers believing that the way is now open for the return to a more traditional approach. In the UK, Coke currently divides its business between Lowe-Howard Spink, also owned by Interpublic, Mother, Publicis and Leagas Delaney.

Reports that Zyman was leaving to join sportswear company, Nike, could not be confirmed, and in apparent contradiction of this, sources at Coke said he was likely to continue at the soft drinks giant in some sort of consultancy role.

He is likely to be replaced by Charles Frenette, the 45-year-old head of Coke's South African division.

Zyman, the brains behind Coke's successful "Coke is it" campaign as well as its disastrous recipe change to New Coke, is reported to have been thwarted in his desire to take a wider role at Coke, as the number two to the empire's chairman Doug Ivester.

He last left Coke in 1986, and was a consultant to Ivester for seven years, before returning to take the top marketing post.



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