The Coca-Cola Company History

One Coca-Cola Plaza
Atlanta, Georgia 30313-2420

Telephone: (404) 676-2121
Toll Free: 800-468-7856
Fax: (404) 676-6792

Public Company
Incorporated: 1892
Employees: 49,000
Sales: $21.04 billion (2003)
Stock Exchanges: New York Boston Chicago National (NSX) Pacific Philadelphia
Ticker Symbol: KO
NAIC: 312111 Soft Drink Manufacturing; 311930 Flavoring Syrup and Concentrate Manufacturing; 311411 Frozen Fruit, Juice, and Vegetable Manufacturing; 311920 Coffee and Tea Manufacturing; 312112 Bottled Water Manufacturing

Company Perspectives:

The Coca-Cola Company exists to benefit and refresh everyone it touches. The basic proposition of our business is simple, solid and timeless. When we bring refreshment, value, joy and fun to our stakeholders, then we successfully nurture and protect our brands, particularly Coca-Cola. That is the key to fulfilling our ultimate obligation to provide consistently attractive returns to the owners of our business.

Key Dates:

Pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton concocts Coca-Cola, a mixture of sugar, water, caffeine, and extracts of the coca leaf and the kola nut.
Asa G. Candler, a druggist, gains complete control of Pemberton's enterprise.
Candler incorporates The Coca-Cola Company.
The first bottling franchise is established.
Coca-Cola syrup is completely free of cocaine.
The unique, contour-shaped Coke bottle is introduced.
Ernest Woodruff and an investor group buy the company for $25 million; the company goes public at $40 per share.
Robert Winship Woodruff becomes president of the firm.
Coca-Cola plants are set up near fighting fronts in North Africa and Europe, helping boost American GI spirits and introduce Coke to the world market.
The Minute Maid Corporation is acquired.
Sprite makes its debut.
Roberto Goizueta becomes chairman.
Columbia Pictures is acquired for $750 million; Diet Coke is introduced to the market.
Coca-Cola is reformulated; New Coke is rejected by consumers, and the company brings back the original formula, calling it Coca-Cola Classic.
Company sells its entertainment business to Tri-Star Pictures.
Sales surpass the $10 billion mark for the first time.
Douglas Ivester succeeds Goizueta as chairman and CEO.
Company acquires the rights to sell Schweppes, Canada Dry, Dr Pepper, and Crush brands in 157 countries, not including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and most of Europe.
New CEO Douglas N. Daft launches major restructuring involving job cuts of 5,200.
Company launches Vanilla Coke.
E. Neville Isdell is named chairman and CEO.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Allen, Frederick, Secret Formula: How Brilliant Marketing and Relentless Salesmanship Made Coca-Cola the Best-Known Product in the World, New York: HarperBusiness, 1994, 500 p.
  • Applegate, Howard L., Coca-Cola: A History in Photographs, 1930 Through 1969, Osceola, Wis.: Iconografix, 1996, 126 p.
  • Beatty, Sally, and Nikhil Deogun, "Coke Revisits Its Emotional Ads of the '70s," Wall Street Journal, July 8, 1998, p. B8.
  • Bernstein, Peter W., "Coke Strikes Back," Fortune, June 1, 1981, pp. 30+.
  • Candler, Charles Howard, Asa Griggs Candler, Atlanta: Emory University, 1950, 502 p.
  • The Chronicle of Coca-Cola, Since 1886, Atlanta: Coca-Cola Company, [n.d.].
  • The Coca-Cola Company: An Illustrated Profile of a Worldwide Company, Atlanta: Coca-Cola Company, 1974.
  • "Coke's Big Marketing Blitz," Business Week, May 30, 1983, pp. 58+.
  • Cowell, Alan, "The Coke Stomach Ache Heard Round the World," New York Times, June 25, 1999, p. C1.
  • Deogun, Nikhil, "Aggressive Push Abroad Dilutes Coke's Strength As Big Markets Stumble," Wall Street Journal, February 8, 1999, pp. A1+.
  • ------, "Can Coke Rise to the Global Challenge?," Wall Street Journal, September 24, 1998, p. C1.
  • Deogun, Nikhil, et al., "Anatomy of a Recall: How Coke's Controls Fizzled Out in Europe," Wall Street Journal, June 29, 1999, pp. A1+.
  • Echikson, William, "Have a Coke and a Smile--Please," Business Week, August 30, 1999, p. 214A.
  • Enrico, Roger, and Jesse Kornbluth, The Other Guy Blinked: And Other Dispatches from the Cola Wars, New York: Bantam, 1988, 280 p.
  • Foust, Dean, "Things Go Better with ... Juice," Business Week, May 17, 2004, pp. 81-82.
  • Foust, Dean, and Deborah Rubin, "Now, Coke Is No Longer 'It,'" Business Week, February 28, 2000, pp. 148, 150-51.
  • Foust, Dean, David Rocks, and Mark L. Clifford, "Is Douglas Daft the Real Thing?," Business Week, December 20, 1999, pp. 44, 46.
  • Foust, Dean, and Gerry Khermouch, "Repairing the Coke Machine," Business Week, March 19, 2001, pp. 86-88.
  • Graham, Elizabeth C., and Ralph Roberts, The Real Ones: Four Generations of the First Family of Coca-Cola, New York: Barricade Books, 1992, 344 p.
  • Greisling, David, I'd Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta, New York: Wiley, 1998, 334 p.
  • Hagerty, James R., and Amy Barrett, "Can Douglas Ivester End Coke's Crisis?," Wall Street Journal, June 18, 1999, p. B1.
  • Harrison, DeSales, "Footprints on the Sands of Time": A History of Two Men and the Fulfillment of a Dream, New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1969, 24 p.
  • Hays, Constance L., The Real Thing: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company, New York: Random House, 2004, 398 p.
  • ------, "A Sputter in the Coke Machine: When Its Customers Fell Ill, a Master Marketer Faltered," New York Times, June 30, 1999, p. C1.
  • Huey, John, "In Search of Roberto's Secret Formula," Fortune, December 29, 1997, pp. 230-32, 234.
  • Kahn, Ely Jacques, The Big Drink: The Story of Coca-Cola, New York: Random House, 1960, 174 p.
  • Kemp, Kathryn W., God's Capitalist: Asa Candler of Coca-Cola, Macon, Ga.: Mercer, 2002, 312 p.
  • Laing, Jonathan R., "Is Coke Still It?," Barron's, May 9, 1994, pp. 29-33.
  • Louis, J.C., and Harvey Z. Yazijian, The Cola Wars, New York: Everest House, 1980, 386 p.
  • McKay, Betsy, "Coca-Cola Agrees to Settle Bias Suit for $192.5 Million," Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2000, p. A3.
  • ------, "Coke Faces the Return of Recycling Issue," Wall Street Journal, September 13, 1999, p. B8.
  • ------, "Cola on the Rocks, Coke Plans a 'Classic' Redesign," Wall Street Journal, October 13, 1999, pp. B1, B4.
  • McKay, Betsy, and Joann S. Lublin, "Coke Names Isdell Chairman, CEO," Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2004, p. A3.
  • McKay, Betsy, and Nikhil Deogun, "After Short, Stormy Tenure, Coke's Ivester to Retire," Wall Street Journal, December 7, 1999, p. B1.
  • Moore, Thomas, and Susan Caminiti, "He Put the Kick Back into Coke," Fortune, October 26, 1987, pp. 46+.
  • Morris, Betsy, "Doug Is It," Fortune, May 25, 1998, pp. 70-74, 78, 80, 82, 84.
  • Neff, Jack, "Trouble Bubbles for Coke," Food Processing, November 2003, pp. 24-26.
  • Oliver, Thomas, The Real Coke: The Real Story, New York: Viking Penguin, 1987, 195 p.
  • Pendergrast, Mark, For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It, 2nd edition, New York: Basic, 2000, 621 p.
  • Santoli, Michael, "Coke Is No Longer It," Barron's, April 5, 1999, p. 15.
  • ------, "How Coke Is Kicking Pepsi's Can," Fortune, October 28, 1996, pp. 70-73+.
  • Scredon, Scott, and Marc Frons, "Coke's Man on the Spot: The Changes Goizueta Is Making Outweigh One Spectacular Blunder," Business Week, July 29, 1985, pp. 56+.
  • Sellers, Patricia, "Coke's CEO Doug Daft Has to Clean Up the Big Spill," Fortune, March 6, 2000, pp. 58-59.
  • ------, "Who's in Charge Here?," Fortune, December 24, 2001, pp. 76-80, 83, 86.
  • Terhune, Chad, "CEO Says Things Aren't Going Better with Coke," Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2004, pp. A1, A10.
  • ------, "Coke's CEO Is to Retire at Year End," Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2004, p. A3.
  • Terhune, Chad, and Betsy McKay, "Bottled Up--Behind Coke's CEO Travails: A Long Struggle over Strategy," Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2004, p. A1.
  • Watters, Pat, Coca-Cola, New York: Doubleday, 1978, 288 p.
  • Yazijian, Harvey Z., and J.C. Louis, The Cola Wars, New York: Everett House, 1980, 386 p.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.67. St. James Press, 2005.