Inside Coca Cola: A CEO's Secrets on Building the World's Most Popular Brand

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9781250004987: Inside Coca Cola: A CEO's Secrets on Building the World's Most Popular Brand

Neville Isdell was a key player at Coca-Cola for more than 30 years, retiring in 2009 as CEO after regilding the tarnished brand image of the world's leading soft-drink company. This first book by a Coca-Cola CEO tells an extraordinary personal and professional worldwide story, ranging from Northern Ireland to South Africa to Australia, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, India, South Africa, and Turkey. Isdell helped put out huge public relations fires (India and Turkey), opened markets(Russia, Eastern Europe, Philippines and Africa), championed Muhtar Kent, the current Turkish-American CEO, all while living the ideal of corporate responsibility. Isdell's, and Coke's, story is newsy without being gossipy, principled without being preachy. It is filled with stories and lessons appealing to anybody who has ever taken "the pause that refreshes." It is also a readable and important look at how companies can market and govern themselves more-ethically and to great success.

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About the Author:

NEVILLE ISDELL is the former Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Co. Originally from Ireland, Isdell grew up in Zambia and attended college in South Africa.  He now lives with his wife, Pamela, in Barbados.  DAVID BEASLEY is a writer based in Atlanta.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One
FROM ULSTER TO AFRICA
 
 
I was born in Downpatrick, a small town in Northern Ireland, on June 8, 1943, the only son of Protestant parents. My mother’s family was originally from Scotland, my father’s from Ireland.
My father, Edward Neville Isdell, was a fingerprint and ballistics specialist with the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Belfast was a shipbuilding hub and therefore a frequent bombing target in World War II. The police headquarters were moved to the countryside about twenty miles away until the war was over, so it was in Downpatrick where I first saw the light of day.
I was christened in a little stone church in Downpatrick built on the site of St. Patrick’s first church in Ireland. My daughter and grandson would later be christened there as well.
Northern Ireland was then and is still part of the United Kingdom, but has a large Catholic population loyal to Ireland. The friction between Protestants and Catholics was palpable even to me at an early age. There were Protestant neighborhoods and Catholic neighborhoods as well as Protestant schools and Catholic schools.
My grandfather was a member of the Orange Order, a fraternity dedicated to Protestant supremacy, and every year he celebrated the Battle of the Boyne, when the army of William of Orange defeated the Catholic king, James II. My father, who maintained close ties to Ireland throughout his life, refused to join the order. He had the somewhat dangerous view, which I inherited, that Ireland should be one country but only through democratic means. The “troubles” as they were called were subdued in those days and would not resurface for two decades. Yet I would encounter these types of human conflicts for the rest of my life. The ability to understand them and get past them was a key business skill that served me well throughout my career at Coca-Cola.
My childhood in Northern Ireland was a typical one, solidly middle class, with a large and loving extended family close by. My paternal grandfather was a postal clerk. My mother’s father was a shipbuilding engineer honored by King George V for his service to British shipbuilding. I remember clearly when a Nigerian policeman came over for ten days of training and stayed at our house. At that time a black man in Northern Ireland was really unusual. The officer gave me a fluffy little toy that I called Calabar for the city in Nigeria where he lived. It was my favorite and my first link to Africa. I also remember tasting my first Coca-Cola in Northern Ireland, at an old tea shop with bullion windows. It was considered an exotic drink!
During those postwar years there were still Jewish refugees from the Holocaust living in refugee camps, and I donated some of my toys to the children there. Gasoline and other products were still being rationed and on weekends we sometimes drove to the Republic of Ireland, which had been neutral in World War II, to buy items hard to find in Belfast.
My father was a tall, barrel-chested man who had tried on three occasions to leave Northern Ireland, but had been prevented from doing so because he was deemed “essential” at the police department. Positions in Greece, British Guiana, and Sierra Leone passed him by.
Unable to get out of Northern Ireland, my father channeled his excess energy into rugby, a tough, hard game, with kicking, passing, and tackling, but no helmets or pads. It’s often said that soccer is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, while rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen. My father was the president of a rugby club and my uncle was also involved. So I spent many weekends with my cousins at rugby matches, kicking the ball around on the sidelines during the games.
After serving twenty-five years with the police department, my father retired on half pension and took a position in what is now called Zambia—then the British colony of Northern Rhodesia—as head of the fingerprint department of the Northern Rhodesia police. This was 1954. I was ten years old.
Finally my father had the opportunity to live abroad, but relatives and neighbors in Belfast were baffled at our move. I’ll never forget sitting as a ten-year-old does in the corner of the room, as the adults, who forget you are there, talk. One of the family members said, “What are you doing this for? What about Neville?” My father replied, “I believe that by doing this I will be able to afford to give him a university education. I am doing this for him. I want him to have more opportunities than I had.” That stuck in my mind. My parents were aspiring for me. They were investing in me. They’d been through a war and they’d lost opportunities as a result. The big possibilities had passed them by.
I was excited by the move, having always been interested in geography and nature, collecting leaves and pressing them in books, poring over atlases to learn the names of countries. Although my father had wanted to leave Northern Ireland all along, my mother, Margaret, was not at all eager to go. She was a very good mother and doted on me, but throughout my childhood she was never a very well woman, suffering from bronchial asthma.
On the journey to Africa, I saw London for the first time. En route to Africa, the ship stopped in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria off the coast of Spain. Flamenco dancers came aboard. There was bright sunshine and beaches. The exotic nature of it all hit me. We were not even in Africa yet but we were in an entirely different world.
Our first stop in Africa was Lobito Bay in Portuguese West Africa, now called Angola. There, I experienced the harshness of the colonial system as white overseers lashed black dockworkers with hide whips. My father pulled me away and said, “I’m sorry you had to see this, but this is the way the world is. And it shouldn’t be like this.” To this day, that horrific scene is etched in my memory.
Our next port of call was Cape Town, South Africa. We were told that if we were up at 5:00 A.M., we would see the most wonderful sight. It was January, summer in South Africa, and my father and I were up on deck. All of a sudden, through the early morning mist, a piece of wondrous land emerged from the seemingly flat sea. It was Table Mountain. The order of magnitude was stunning. Ireland had its beautiful green hills but here was a nearly four-thousand-foot mountain jutting out of the sea. It was the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen. I fell in love with Cape Town, in my estimation, one of the three most beautiful cities in the world. The other two are Sydney and Rio de Janeiro.
During our four days in Cape Town, we feasted on the sunlight, juicy grapes, oranges, and melon pieces with dollops of ice cream in the center that we purchased from cafés. I also saw the first signs of apartheid: whites-only signs on park benches. It was a shock, but at the same time, it seemed to be the natural order of this society. It didn’t seem right to me, but I did not suddenly become a ten-year-old activist. I must say that I accepted it, but it did make me uncomfortable. After all, the Nigerian police officer had stayed at our house two years earlier. Why had he been able to stay with a white family when black South Africans weren’t even allowed to sit on a white’s park bench?
After Cape Town, we traveled for three-and-a half days on a coal-fired train to Northern Rhodesia. I stood on the metal railing between the cars for hours, looking at the varied landscapes including the bleak semidesert of Botswana, peddlers selling their wares, and women breast-feeding their babies. We passed one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, which straddles Southern and Northern Rhodesia. Part of the great Zambezi River, the falls are a mile and a quarter wide and drop 365 feet to the gorge below. The spray can be seen for miles, which is why in the local language the falls are called Mosi-o-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders). Everything in Africa, it seemed, had a totally different order of magnitude.
In Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, we were met at the train station by my father’s former fingerprinting colleague in Great Britain, Paddy Greene, and his new wife. My father was replacing Greene as head of fingerprinting at the Northern Rhodesian police force. Even though Lusaka was the capital city, the train station had no platform, just red earth.
Our family moved into a brand-new three-bedroom government house in Lusaka. With its beautiful shiny concrete floors, the house sat on a half-acre lot that backed up to the bush. For the first time, our family had servants. And they would wax the floors with brushes on their feet and I’d slide delightedly across the rooms as a young boy would.
During the first nine months, we had no electricity, only candles, Tilley lamps, and a wood-fired stove. However, for a young child, Africa was an explosion of new sights and sounds: frogs, crickets, spiders, and loud thunderstorms. I was soon thriving in Africa, riding a bicycle five miles each way to a government school with a British curriculum, sleeping under a mosquito net, and playing sports.
Schools were segregated by race and gender. Racial segregation overall in Northern Rhodesia was not as strict as it was in South Africa but cafés, restaurants, and bars were whites-only. Whites and blacks could shop in the same retail stores, though the blacks tended to shop in different stores because the residential areas were separate. Many of the shop owners were immigrants from India.
Lusaka had a local newspaper and only one cinema, where we’d go on Saturday mornings for movies. There was no television. At night we’d listen to BBC News on the radio. On Sunday nights a radio station in Portuguese East Africa broadcasted the Top Twenty pop songs. Sporting events were available only on short-wave radio. Pocket money was used to buy the latest hits on 78-rpm vinyl discs. Within a few miles of the Lusaka city limits, the occasional li...

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Descripción St Martin s Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Trade Paperback.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Neville Isdell was a key player at Coca-Cola for more than 30 years, retiring in 2009 as CEO after regilding the tarnished brand image of the world s leading soft-drink company. This first book by a Coca-Cola CEO tells an extraordinary personal and professional worldwide story, ranging from Northern Ireland to South Africa to Australia, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, India, South Africa, and Turkey. Isdell helped put out huge public relations fires (India and Turkey), opened markets(Russia, Eastern Europe, Philippines and Africa), championed Muhtar Kent, the current Turkish-American CEO, all while living the ideal of corporate responsibility. Isdell s, and Coke s, story is newsy without being gossipy, principled without being preachy. It is filled with stories and lessons appealing to anybody who has ever taken the pause that refreshes. It is also a readable and important look at how companies can market and govern themselves more-ethically and to great success. Nº de ref. de la librería KNV9781250004987

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Descripción Estado de conservación: New. Publisher/Verlag: Macmillan US | A CEO's Secrets on Building the World's Most Popular Brand | Coca-Cola is the leading soft drink in more than 200 countries. The former chairman and CEO provides an inside look at the brand that has become an empire. He worked for Coca-Cola in Australia, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, India, South Africa and Turkey, putting out huge public relations fires (India and Turkey), and opening markets (Russia, Eastern Europe, Philippines and Africa). | Format: Paperback | Language/Sprache: english | 260 gr | 288 pp. Nº de ref. de la librería K9781250004987

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