Sun, Oct 22, 2000 EDT
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Journal: Coke Marketing Chief to Quit

NEW YORK — Coca-Cola Co.'s controversial marketing chief, Sergio Zyman, is expected to quit his job shortly, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

An announcement could come as early as Thursday, the Journal said, citing people close to the company.

Zyman, 52, earned the nickname "Ayacola" because of his cocky and sometimes abrasive manner at Coke in the early 1980s, the paper said. In 1993 he returned to Coke to run its massive marketing machine. Coke spent $1.7 billion on advertising in 1997.

Zyman's departure would signal a new marketing approach by Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive M. Douglas Ivester, who took over last fall, the paper said.

In 1993, Ivester told Zyman to shake up the company's advertising and marketing forces, which were seen as lagging behind PepsiCo. Now, however, he wants to bring stability and consistency to Coke's global marketing structure, people familiar with Zyman's impending departure told the Journal.

Ivester is expected to name Charles Frennette to Zyman's job, the paper said. Frennette, 45, is head of Coke's southern Africa division and formerly the No. 2 executive for its U.S. operations.

Zyman had wanted to be named president, but probably realized Ivester would not choose so flamboyant a marketer as the company's second in command, the paper said.

Zyman has been rumored to be considering a job at Microsoft Corp. or Nike Inc. the paper said. Others believe he will set up his own consulting business and continue to counsel Coke.

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