The CEO whom I have selected for this paper is, Muhtar Kent. He is the CEO of Coca Cola Company. Muhtar Kent was born in 1952 in a Turkish family living in New York. Kent attended high school at Tarsus American College in Mersin, Turkey. To further his studies he attended the University of Hull in United Kingdom for his undergraduate. Kent completed his MBA from Cass Business School in London. Muhtar Kent started working at Coca Cola Company in 1978. He came to know about the job opening through a newspaper advertisement. Kent was a part of several marketing and operations leadership positions during his time at the company. Kent was promoted to the position of General Manager of the Turkey and Central Asia division in 1985. In the beginning of 1989, Kent was promoted to the position of president of the East Central Europe division and was simultaneously the vice president of Coca Cola international.
Muhtar Kent became the managing director of the Amatil-Europe division in 1995, and was responsible for 12 countries. He became the president of the Efes Beverage Group, which is a bottling partner of Coca Cola and deals in beer operations across Southeast Europe, Turkey, and Central Asia. In 2005, Kent was pronounces the president and chief operating officer of Coca Cola’s North Asia, Eurasia, and Middle East group. Within a year, he became the president of Coca Cola international, and was responsible for operations outside of North America. Muhtar Kent is an active member of the global business community, charities, and serves on the boards of several companies. According to Kent, he was attracted to the idea of an exchange of goods and services. This fascination of purchasing and selling goods had an impact upon Muhtar Kent; consequently, he turned towards business education. (Bourgeois, 2013)
Muhtar Kent majored in Economics at the undergraduate level but initiated an MBA at the graduate level. Kent suggests that it is essential to have knowledge of a wide area of business in order to fully understand the business world. Hence, this suggests Kent’s decision to first study economics and then pure business related. Kent says “I always encourage people and young business people that I meet to have a respect for cash keeping some in their pockets and purses at all time.” Kent spent the first nine months on delivery trucks in Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, and California. This routine and work cycle gave Kent an insight into Coca Cola that could not have been gained sitting on the office floor. He knew exactly what was happening in the market and was closely related to the customers. This was how Kent was able to move up the ladder in his career.
Spending the first few months at the fundamental level gave Muhtar Kent a deep understanding of how the business world operates. He firmly believes that it is important for a successful person to gain practical knowledge of the business in which they are dealing. Not many people are exposed to this level of practical knowledge; hence, this limits their ability to grow in their field of expertise. Furthermore, this experience helped Kent to understand the various business departments. Therefore, he is able to deal and understand effectively with problems which may arise in the various departments. This is a major reason for Kent’s success as a Chief Executive. Kent has also applied this knowledge and understanding of different departments in devising the 2020 map for the company. This would ensure that every department is working towards the collective goal of the company.
Kent’s leadership style has been very democratic, and it is largely shaped by his mother, wife, and sister’s influence. He is involved with his co-workers and subordinates which is a contributing factor towards the success of Coca Cola. He firmly believes in partnering with other businesses including the supply chain of the company. This partnering attitude flourishes at the office floor, and every employee in the company works cooperatively. Apart from this Muhtar Kent, may be considered a proactive leader. His decision to take direct control of the company’s largest bottler is proof of his proactive behavior. Along with this, Kent mapped out a company plan till 2020, and the company and its employees are strictly following this plan. Apart from this, Muhtar Kent is a strong supporter of women empowerment at the workplace. He supports women employment, and this is proved by Kent’s attitude towards female employment.
At the managerial level interpersonal skills are the most important. People need to be able to understand the human resource better than any other resource of the company. This understanding enables the company to benefit from the one resource that is not easily replaceable. Kent also supports the growth and enhancement of interpersonal skills. His idea of partnering, the 2020 vision, and an understanding of the international markets all reinforce the importance of interpersonal skills. It is through company employees that any organization is able to achieve its goals. However, Kent does suggest that technical skills are essential for a workers career success as it allows him to have a multi-dimensional view of all business areas.
One of the lessons which are prominent in Kent’s style of leadership is the ability to understand others. He comes across as a strong proponent of the humanistic approach of leadership. People who are able to comprehend the needs of others will not only be popular among groups but they will achieve more during their careers. Muhtar Kent’s leadership style is not mentioned in specific in the online documents available; however, from how he deals with situations and the way he has led Coca Cola says a lot about his leadership style.
Bourgeois, T. (2013, July 17). Muhtar Kent: He Just Gets It. The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trudy-bourgeois/muhtar-kent-he-just-gets-_b_3605844.html
Our Company. (n.d.). The Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved February 16, 2014, from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/board-of-directors-muhtar-kent
Q&A: Coca-Cola chief Muhtar Kent. (n.d.). Financial Times. Retrieved February 16, 2014, from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/5d114ed2-5fff-11e2-b657-00144feab49a.html#axzz2tTARMIDq