Coke Europe's Longest Serving Associate_Thea Then
Thea’s career at Coca-Cola began in 1968.

In the Netherlands, Coca-Cola is saying goodbye to a very special employee, Thea van der Jagt, who has worked for the company for more than four decades.

Thea is Coke's longest-serving colleague in Europe. She began what would turn out to be a lifelong career in 1968 as a personal assistant for Coca-Cola Netherlands in Amsterdam. She soon moved on to support the regional general managers, and in 2000 became manager of the Consumer Information Center (CIC), where she has worked until her recent retirement.

In 2008, van der Jagt celebrated her 40th anniversary with Coca-Cola. At that time, she was one of only 14 employees worldwide to have served the company for so long.

A passionate athlete, van der Jagt loves rowing and, in 2010, competed in The Great River Race – a demanding 21-mile trek up London’s River Thames. The event attracted 300 crews from around the world. She participated with a group of three friends in a small wooden boat and successfully completed the race from London’s Docklands to the finish line in Richmond.

Her love of sport was also rewarded in 2008, when her colleagues in The Netherlands gave her a trip of a lifetime -- to enjoy the action at the Beijing Olympic Games.

During her long career, van der Jagt built a deep understanding of the Coke business and its brands. When asked in 2008 why she stayed with the company for so long and what makes it unique for her, she said, “While much here has changed since I started, both in the Netherlands and globally, the staff still display the same enthusiasm and commitment as always and consumers continue to show great loyalty towards the brand. It is great to be able to work for a company like that.”

Juan Ignacio De Elizalde, Benelux operations director, says:

Coke Europe's Longest Serving Associate_Thea Now
Thea with a personalized 'Share a Coke' can. 
“I’d like to send a big thank you to Thea, for her ongoing dedication and great support to our company during many decades. She has been part of all developments in the local Dutch office since she began. I especially want to highlight her accomplishments for consumer services. Countless number of consumers have enjoyed her professional and service-focused approach over the years.

Thea exemplifies the cooperation of our Coca-Cola system, working in a small team supported by CCE colleagues. Over her 46 years of great dedication in consumer services, she has contributed to our local success in many ways. Due to her, many consumers have been provided with rapid and clear answers about our company, products and services.

As a recognition of her achievements and ongoing commitments, she was personally invited by our Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent to make a special trip to Atlanta in 2013, on the occasion of her 45th anniversary at the company.  

Although we will all miss her, Thea now deserves time for her friends, for rowing on the beautiful Amstel river in Amsterdam and for her new hobby – following cooking classes. On behalf of the entire Coca-Cola Europe Group, I wish her a happy and healthy future.”