Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), the continent’s largest Coke bottler which spans over a dozen countries announced on Monday the appointment of Mr Jacques Vermeulen, a 23-year veteran of the soda giant as its new CEO, effective 1 December, 2018.He will replace the outgoing CEO Doug Jackson, who had spent 35 years with the Coca-Cola Company.
Vermeulen was until his new appointment, the Managing Director of CCBA’s International Division, which covers all of the soft drinks company’s African operations outside South Africa, since July 2016. He first joined the Coca-Cola system in 1995.
“Jacques brings his strong leadership and exceptional experience in this role. His appointment serves as evidence of effective succession planning and the development of our internal talent pipeline,” said Phil Gutsche, CCBA Chairman and controlling shareholder of Coca-Cola SABCO.
Jacques experience in leading successful businesses in Africa, and the strong relationship he has with our franchise partners. The Coca-Cola Company will be invaluable in driving growth and expanding CCBA’s footprint throughout Sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.
CCBA was initially formed in 2014 by the combination of SABMiller’s non-alcoholic beverage business in Africa with the Coca-Cola Company’s South African business operation and Coca-Cola SABCO, a Southern Africa franchise owner of Coca-Cola. When SABMiller was acquired by AB InBev in 2016, the brewer temporarily took ownership of the 54.5% stake formerly held by SABMiller.
However, not wanting AB InBev to be a partner in its business, the Coca-Cola Company in 2017 exercised its “Change of Ownership” clause in CCBA and re-acquired the assets of SABMiller from AB InBev. Coke said its majority ownership of CCBA is only temporary until it can find new franchise partners to take over ownership of the re-acquired stake.
Coke currently holds 65% of CCBA shareholding, with the remaining being held by Coca-Cola SABCO. Coke is also seeking to refranchise bottling operations in countries that are not currently part of CCBA such as in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras. Some of the potential CCBA franchise partners that have often being mentioned include Coca-Cola Hellenic, Heineken NV, and Castel Group among others. CCBA includes the countries of South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Mayotte and Comoros.