It is an honor and a true privilege to know you and your great family.
The legacy you have built with Special Olympics is one that has touched me on a very personal level. Serving on the Board of Directors with you and getting to experience the spirit, camaraderie and humanity of the Games first-hand are experiences I will never forget.
We at Coca-Cola are so very fortunate to be part of the Special Olympics Family and to count you as a friend.
Thank you for all you've done, and continued to do, to promote the very best qualities of American leadership and compassion.
Muhtar Kent is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company.
Mr. Kent joined The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta in 1978 and has held a variety of marketing and operations roles throughout his career. In 1985, he was appointed General Manager of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central Asia.
From 1989 to 1995, he served as President of the Company's East Central Europe Division and Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola International, with responsibility for 23 countries. Between 1995 and 1998, Mr. Kent served as Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe, covering bottling operations in 12 countries. From 1999 until his return to The Coca-Cola Company in May 2005, he served as President and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, the majority shareholder of Turkish bottler Coca-Cola Icecek. Headquartered in Istanbul and listed on the London and Istanbul Stock Exchanges, Efes is a publicly traded beverage enterprise whose Coca-Cola and beer operations extend from the Adriatic to the Pacific Ocean. Under Mr. Kent's leadership, Efes experienced extraordinary growth, with triple-digit revenue growth and a 250 percent increase in market capitalization. During that time, in addition to taking Efes Breweries International public on the London Stock Exchange, Mr. Kent also served as a board member of Coca-Cola Icecek.
Mr. Kent was named President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company's North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group from 2005 until early 2006, where he was responsible for the operations across a broad and diverse geographic region that included China, Japan and Russia. Mr. Kent served as President of Coca-Cola International through most of 2006, responsible for operations outside of North America, until his appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, overseeing all operations of the business, including Bottling Investments. He succeeded Neville Isdell as Chief Executive Officer of the Company on July 1, 2008, and as Chairman of the Board of Directors on April 23, 2009.