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Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent to step down next year

Muhtar Kent
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent speaks during a May 8, 2013, news conference in Atlanta.
(David Goldman / AP)

Coca-Cola said Friday that Chief Executive Muhtar Kent will step down next year and be replaced by Chief Operating Officer James Quincey.

The world’s largest beverage maker is under pressure to grow as people around the world drink less soda, including its flagship Coke. The Atlanta-based company reported in October that its third-quarter profit fell 28%. The company also makes Sprite, Fanta and Dasani water.

Kent will leave the CEO job on May 1 but will continue as chairman of the board. He has been CEO of the company for about seven years.

Quincey, 51, has been with the company for about 20 years. He was named president and chief operating officer last year.

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Shares of the Coca-Cola Co. rose 1% to $41.53 before the stock market in New York opened Friday.

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