Muhtar A. Kent is a Turkish-American business executive. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Coca-Cola Company. He was appointed to assume the position of Chief Operating Officer of the company in 2008.
Muhtar Kent was born 1952 in New York, where his father, His Excellency Mr. Necdet Kent, was the Turkish consul-general. Muhtar Kent is of the Muslim faith. After completing high school at Tarsus American College in Mersin, Turkey in 1971, Muhtar Kent went to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Hull.
Muhtar Kent found a job at The Coca-Cola Company through a newspaper ad. He toured the country in trucks to sell Coca-Cola, and thereby learned its distribution, marketing and logistics systems.
In 1985, he was promoted to the general manager position of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central Asia, and transferred the headquarters of the company from Izmir to Istanbul. Three years later, he was appointed president of the company’s East Central Europe Division, responsible for 23 countries in a region from the Alps to the Himalayas. Living in Vienna, Austria, he served at this post until 1995.
Promoted further, Muhtar Kent became in 1995 managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe. In two years, he increased the turnover of the company about 50%, which covered bottling operations in 12 European countries.
In 1999, he left the Coca-Cola Company after 20 years of service. Returning to Turkey, Muhtar Kent became CEO of Efes Beverage Group at Anadolu Group, the largest local shareholder of the Coca-Cola franchise in Turkey and one of Europe's largest international beverage businesses. He extended the company's territory from the Adriatic to China.
In May 2005, he rejoined Coca-Cola after almost 6 years and was appointed president and chief operating officer of the company’s North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group, a position reporting directly to chairman and chief executive officer Neville Isdell. Muhtar Kent's rise continued and he was promoted in January 2006, the newly-created position of president of International Operations. In this capacity, he was responsible for all operations outside of North America, and all group presidents outside of North America reported to him.
His successful career took him finally to the summit of the Coca-Cola Company, which named him chairman and chief executive officer, effective July 1, 2008.