ATLANTA – Coca-Cola President and CEO James Quincey opened the company’s annual shareowners meeting today with a quick glance in the rearview mirror before pivoting to the promising road ahead.

“We’ve created more than $120 billion in shareowner value over the last 10 years,” he told an audience of about 150 shareowners at the World of Coca-Cola, blocks away from where the first Coca-Cola was poured nearly 132 years ago.

“That’s the power of the Coca Cola system. And it’s still growing.”

Quincey, speaking just 24 hours after the company reported solid first quarter 2018 results, explained how the business is evolving in line with shifting consumer tastes and stakeholder expectations.

“Our business has to start with a passion for understanding what people want and giving it to them… it’s that simple,” he said. “Whether people want drinks with less sugar, more organic ingredients or fully recyclable containers, what people want is at the heart of our strategy to succeed.”

Muhtar Kent AGM
Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent welcomes shareowners to the meeting. 'We remain steadfastly committed to long-term, sustainable value creation for you and all those connected to our business,' he said.

The company is taking an entrepreneurial, “test-and-learn” approach to growing and scaling a consumer-centric beverage portfolio. “We’re building an inclusive culture of curiosity and empowerment so new ideas can become a reality quickly,” Quincey said. “We strive for progress, not perfection.”

With more than 500 brands and operations in nearly every country on earth, Coke’s “total beverage advantage” empowers the company to quickly “lift, shift and scale” winning brands from one country to another, he said, citing the recent international expansions of smartwater, Fuze Tea and AdeS plant-based beverages.

'Whether people want drinks with less sugar, more organic ingredients or fully recyclable containers, what people want is at the heart of our strategy to succeed.'

Additionally, acquisitions like Topo Chico premium sparkling water, and innovations like Coca-Cola Georgia Peach and Coca-Cola California Raspberry, address consumers’ thirst for local tastes, Quincey said.

The company also continues to take steps to ensure “we’re doing business the right way, not just the easy way,” Quincey explained, “giving people the brands they love from a company they trust. “

This includes the recently announced World Without Waste sustainable packaging vision to help recycle a bottle or can for every one Coca-Cola sells globally by 2030.

“Our business has always been at its best when we create shared opportunity through growth,” Quincey said.

Listen to an audio recording of the meeting here.