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Muhtar Kent

Muhtar Kent at the World Economic Forum
Born Muhtar A. Kent
New York City, U.S.A.
Occupation Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company

Muhtar Kent (born in 1952), is a Turkish American businessman, who is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Coca-Cola Company. He was appointed to assume the position of Chief Operating Officer of the Company in 2008.


Early life

Muhtar Kent was born 1952 in New York City, New York, USA where his father, Necdet Kent, was the Turkish consul-general (the elder Kent has been called "the Turkish Schindler" for having risked his life to save Jews during World War II). His family and the other Turkish Schindler Selahattin Ulkumens' family were both originally Sabbateans (Donmeh). After completing high school at Tarsus American College in Mersin, Turkey in 1971, Muhtar Kent went to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Hull; he graduated in 1978 from the Department of Economics. Subsequently, Kent enrolled in the graduate program in administrative sciences at the City University, London and earned a master's degree in business administration from the Cass Business School of that university.

Muhtar Kent returned then to Turkey for active military duty. Following his military service, he returned with a thousand dollars in his pocket to the United States, where he lived with his uncle in New York city.

Professional career

Muhtar Kent found a job at The Coca-Cola Company through a newspaper ad. He toured the country in trucks to sell Coca-Cola, and thereby learned its distribution, marketing and logistics systems.

In 1985, he was promoted to the general manager position of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central Asia, and transferred the headquarters of the company from Izmir to Istanbul. Three years later, he was appointed vice president of Coca-Cola International, responsible for 23 countries in a region from the Alps to the Himalayas. Living in Vienna, Austria, he served at this post until 1995.

From 1989 to 1995, he served as president of the Company’s East Central Europe Division during which he was responsible for 23 countries.

Promoted further, Muhtar Kent became in 1995 managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe. In two years, he increased the turnover of the company about 50%, which covered bottling operations in 12 European countries.

In 1999, he left the Coca-Cola Company after 20 years of service. Returning to Turkey, Muhtar Kent assumed the post of top executive of Efes Beverage Group at Anadolu Group, the largest local shareholder of the Coca-Cola franchise in Turkey and one of Europe's largest international beverage businesses. He extended the company's territory from the Adriatic to China.

In May 2005, he rejoined Coca-Cola after almost 6 years and was appointed president and chief operating officer of the company’s North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group, a position reporting directly to chairman and chief executive officer Neville Isdell. Muhtar Kent's rise continued and he was promoted in January 2006, the newly-created position of president of International Operations. In this capacity, he was responsible for all operations outside of North America, and all group presidents outside of North America reported to him.

His successful career took him finally to the summit of the Coca-Cola Company, which named him chairman and chief executive officer, effective July 1, 2008.[1]



While CEO of Coca-Cola in 2008, Muhtar Kent's earnings totalled $19,628,585, which included a base salary of $1,100,000, a cash bonus of $4,500,000, stocks granted of $2,999,975, and options granted of $10,280,428.[2]

Personal life

He is married to Defne Kent, daughter of an internationally renowned Turkish jurist Prof. İlhan Lütem. The couple has two children, Selin and Cem, both live in New York City. Muhtar Kent is, by his mother Sevim, a descendant of Madra family from Turkish town of Ayvalık, which is located on the Aegean coast. He is a member of Galatasaray Sports Club.[3]


In November 2005, the New York based American Sephardi Federation and The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation honored his father Necdet Kent with a posthumous recognition for saving the life of Jews during his duty as the Turkish deputy consul-general in Marseille, France in World War II. Muhtar Kent received the award for his father, who died in 2002.[4] Muhtar Kent discussed his father's efforts on the Charlie Rose show on June 9, 2009.


External links


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