More job cuts coming to Atlanta as part of Coca-Cola restructuring

1:58 p.m Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 Business
James Quincey, the new CEO of Coke, in his office in Atlanta. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola plans to cut an additional 179 jobs in its hometown as part of a broader restructuring the beverage giant announced earlier this year.

In filings with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Division, Coke identified layoffs at three corporate offices in the city effective by the end of December.

The layoffs are part of a plan to cut about 1,200 corporate jobs through the first half of 2018 that Coke announced in April. At the time, the company said a “significant” portion would come from the Atlanta area.

In June, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Coke had notified the state of 421 cuts in Atlanta. The latest round would mean that, so far, about half of the 1,200 expected job cuts have come to metro Atlanta.

“While difficult, these changes are helping us create a faster, leaner and more agile organization to accelerate growth,” Coke spokesman Kent Landers said in a statement. “As has long been our culture at Coca-Cola, we do not take decisions about job impacts lightly and are committed to treating our people with dignity, fairness and respect throughout this process.”

Most of the eliminated jobs are located at Coke’s headquarters at 1 Coca-Cola Plaza NW, with jobs also being cut at offices on Northyards Boulevard and the SunTrust Plaza office complex downtown. The affected workers will be offered severance packages.

Bob Andres/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A plan to cut about 1,200 corporate jobs through the first half of 2018 was announced by Coca-Cola in April. At the time, the company said a “significant” portion would come from the Atlanta area. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

In April, Coke said the company has about 7,500 employees in metro Atlanta and 9,000 in Georgia, including both bottling operations and its corporate headquarters.

Coke CEO James Quincey has said the company is targeting $3.8 billion in cost savings by 2019 through job cuts, reduced marketing spending and restructuring of its operations, including “re-franchising” its bottling operations to outside independent operators.

In October, the company said third quarter revenue declined 15 percent to $9.1 billion compared to the same period a year ago. But the company would have seen 4 percent growth in revenue if not for factors related to the retooling of its bottling system.

Net income attributable to shareholders was $1.45 billion, up 38 percent from the third quarter of 2016.

Coke has worked for years to diversify its portfolio amid soft sales of sugary and carbonated beverages, introducing or acquiring teas, energy drinks, juices and new water brands.

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