Maria Elena Lagomasino

A tremendous amount of work goes into the stewardship of a large company like Coca-Cola. I’m proud to have played my part during a decade as a member of the board of directors.

I have now been asked by the Coca-Cola board of directors to serve as the board’s lead independent director. I want to share a little about what this role means for the company and why it exists.

I would like to first acknowledge my colleague Sam Nunn, who has held the job of lead independent director for the past five years. Sam truly helped shape the role of our lead independent director, and the course he set is one that I am pleased to be able to follow.

The lead independent director plays an essential role on our board. There are a variety of responsibilities, including providing a key point of contact at the board level for our shareowners; leading the performance evaluation of the chair and CEO; ensuring the annual board evaluation is undertaken; and playing a key role in board and management succession.

Importantly, in cases where the role of board chair is combined with the role of CEO, many of our investors have said that a lead independent director with clearly defined responsibilities provides an important, independent counter-balance to the chair. We agree.

This will be the case once again when James Quincey takes on the chair and CEO titles in 2019, following the retirement of Muhtar Kent as chairman.

I am very pleased the board has trust in me to take on this role, but I should note that all of our directors play a very active role in overseeing the company’s business strategy, both at the board and committee level. Our independent directors exercise their autonomy to pursue vital roles in guiding the company.

As lead independent director, I plan to take a long-term approach. I can’t think of a more important job than helping to ensure that Coca-Cola continues to have a great story to tell. This includes a plan for creating long-term value for shareowners and a commitment to the ongoing success of the company. I look forward to the challenge of stepping into this new role at this great company.