Coke's top marketer leaves company

London - Mary Minnick, Coca-Cola's top marketer, is leaving the group to pursue 'personal and professional goals' in the UK.

The departure of Coca-Cola's president of marketing, strategy and innovation is a major blow to the soft drinks giant.

Minnick is credited with helping to revive Coke's performance following a period of sluggish growth. She introduced a global campaign using a new slogan, the "Coke side of life", created by Wieden & Kennedy, which was rolled out around the world from December 2005.. She also oversaw the launch of products such as Coke Blak, a coffee-flavoured cola, and Gold Peak iced tea.

Before this, the 23-year veteran of the company served as president and COO of Coca-Cola Asia.

Minnick's departure comes just two months after her chances of succeeding Neville Isdell as chief executive of the company were severely hampered.

In November, Coke appointed Muhtar Kent as president and chief operating officer, putting him in pole position to take the reigns from Isdell.

Her decision to move to the UK, where her partner lives, is likely to trigger a race among UK-based companies to secure her services.

Isdell said: "There is no doubt that she has the skills, experience and leadership qualities to some day run a company if that is what she chose to do."

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