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Coke CEO Muhtar Kent: ‘No I don’t use Facebook, but 57m fans make me proud’

By Ben Bouckley+

25-Jan-2013

Coke CEO Muhtar Kent admits he doesn’t use Facebook, but is ‘really proud’ that his company has surpassed the 57m fan mark on Facebook.

In comments made yesterday to Fox Business Network, who sent a transcript to BeverageDaily.com, Kent said:  I think this is really what's fascinating about the world today, how it's changing so fast and the way that no longer are you only going to be communicating to your consumers.

“Consumers communicate with each other and talk about your brand. And that is the key in how you actually shape motivation of consumers and how you shape your brand in a positive manner, and how you succeed in this world today.”

Higher US taxes biting?

Discussing weightier issues on the program, Countdown to the Closing Bell, Kent told anchor Liz Claman at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that it was too early to tell if a recent US payroll tax would hit sales of Coca-Cola, although the firm had not seen an impact as yet.

“But I would say if we can have a solution, which I believe we will, for fiscal reform, if we can have a solution in the US for tax reform, to get a 21st century tax policy in place that we can all be proud of, if we can get immigration reform in place, and if we can also start having a solution for our infrastructure, infrastructure reform, I believe the…future is so bright for the US,” he said.

Asked whether he thought Barack Obama had become more business friendly, Kent answered diplomatically, stating that he had “great hopes that the next four years are going to be better and a good four years for the US”.

Top 15 brand growth

And what would Kent say to a governor who wanted to tax sodas? “I would say we cannot tax our way and solve this, any of these problems,” he told Claman. 

“We can't tax and provide solutions. It has never provided solutions. We can only grow our way out of the current situation. And growth means coming together as business, as government, to try and create the necessary platform so that business can continue to invest.”

The Coca-Cola Company had invested $10bn in the US in the last three years and continued to see great opportunities in the country, Kent told Fox Business Network.

“When you look at the top 15 brands in the business of non-alcoholic beverages in the US, there has actually been growth in those top 15 brands in the US,” he said.

“So brands are growing.  Maybe the industry is not growing as a whole, but the brand, key successful brands are growing.  And by the way, in dollar value, the industry has also grown 3 percent in the last three years.”

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