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Coke Names Isdell CEO

The former company official will replace Doug Daft this summer.
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Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report named E. Neville Isdell chairman and chief executive-elect to replace Doug Daft.

The soft-drink maker expects the transition to take place early this summer.

Isdell, a 60-year-old Irish citizen, joined Coke in 1966 and was eventually named president of the company's Greater Europe Group, which comprised territories accounting for nearly one-third of Coke's worldwide profits.

Isdell left the company in 1998 to serve as chairman of Coca-Cola Beverages, a company that went public the same year. In 2000 he negotiated a merger with Hellenic Bottling to form Coca-Cola HBC, at the time the world's second-largest Coca-Cola bottler, and became its chief executive officer. He left CCHBC at the end of 2001.

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Daft unexpectedly announced his retirement in February, capping a tumultuous five years at the top of the world's No. 1 soft drink company. Daft's appointment presaged a near-halving in the company's stock from 1999 to its recent low beneath $40 in January 2003, a slide that recently reversed as a restructuring plan took hold.

The company had said it would look both inside and outside the company for a replacement.