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Coke Chairman, CEO To Retire

December 6, 1999

ATLANTA (AP) _ Coca-Cola announced today that chairman and CEO M. Douglas Ivester will retire in April.

The move comes as the world’s biggest soft drink company struggles to recover from a rocky period during which its stock price sagged, a group of current and former black employees sued alleging discrimination and a product-contamination scare severely damaged its sales across Europe.

At a special meeting Sunday, Coke’s board elected Douglas N. Daft as president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. The board also said it plans to elect Daft as the 52-year-old Ivester’s successor after its April shareholders meeting.

``After extensive reflection and thought, I have concluded that it is time for me to move on to the next stage of my life and, therefore, to put into place an orderly transition for this great company,″ Ivester said in a statement.

He was not immediately available for comment.

The board ``reluctantly accepted″ Ivester’s decision, board member James Williams said in a statement.

``Over the last 20 years, the Coca-Cola Co. has been fortunate to have someone of Doug’s wisdom and dedication in its leadership ranks,″ Williams said. ``We are pleased that he has agreed to stay on until April to assist the company in this change.″

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