Frenette steps in as Zyman quits Coca-Cola

Sergio Zyman, the flamboyant and controversial chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola, quit this week, making way for Charlie Frenette, the low-profile head of Coke’s South African operations.

Sergio Zyman, the flamboyant and controversial chief marketing

officer of Coca-Cola, quit this week, making way for Charlie Frenette,

the low-profile head of Coke’s South African operations.



Coke is claiming business as usual for its 30 or so advertising agencies

around the world. But informed observers have already begun speculating

that the change will usher in a return to a more consolidated

relationship with traditional agency networks, with Leo Burnett leading

the field.



Burnetts has picked off a number of Coke projects around the world in

recent months.



Zyman, a mercurial and abrasive ideas man, was taken on five years ago

to shake up the marketing department, which was perceived to be behind

its arch rival, Pepsi, in terms of energy and ideas.



Dubbed ’Ayacola’ because of his autocratic, and sometimes erratic style,

Zyman blazed a trail through the department of longserving Coke

staffers, and swept aside Coke’s old dependence on the Interpublic-owned

networks, notably McCann-Erickson, in favour of an ad hoc assortment of

agencies, design groups and film-makers.



In contrast, Frenette has been at Coke man and boy. Behind his back he

is called Danny de Vito, not only because of his small and portly

appearance, but also for his personability.



’He’s a good manager. Much more the operational type,’ explained Richard

Halpern, the former director of advertising research at Coke and now a

consultant. ’He’ll be much better able to run things.’



Frenette, who has spent all his 20-plus year career at the operational

end of Coke’s business, is expected to give much more freedom to local

offices. ’He will focus more on marketing initiatives at the local

level,’ one Coke source said. ’We will continue to have a global focus,

but with greater attention on talking to consumers in their own

language.’



Frenette formally takes over on 1 May. Zyman, the brains behind Coke’s

successful ’always’ 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.



A spokesman said he was leaving to ’spend more time on his personal

life’.



In the UK, Coke currently divides its business between Lowe-Howard

Spink, Mother, Publicis and Leagas Delaney, while Bartle Bogle Hegarty

handles global print work. Universal McCann is the media agency of

record.