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Volume 21 No. 1
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McCune leaving Coke after Sochi Olympics

Coca-Cola’s longtime global sports and entertainment executive Scott McCune is leaving the company after the Sochi Olympics.

Scott McCune oversees Coke’s global marketing around the Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
McCune, whose current title is vice president, global partnerships and experiential marketing, spent the last 16 years overseeing Coca-Cola’s global marketing around the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. He managed the marketing strategy prior to the Beijing Games that helped the company move from the No. 3 brand to No. 1 in China and led a push to increase the number of markets that used 2012 Olympics promotions from 60 to 110. He also helped the company secure the rights to the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2006, a new platform that Coke uses to promote its soccer sponsorship worldwide.

“Among his many accomplishments, Scott and his teams were responsible for transforming how the Company leverages Strategic Partnerships like the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup into Global Platforms that drive our business around the world,” wrote Wendy Clark, Coke’s senior vice president, integrated marketing and communications, in an internal memo distributed to staff last week.

Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola’s vice president global alliances and ventures, will succeed McCune in overseeing the company’s Olympic and FIFA World Cup marketing efforts.

McCune, 56, plans to start his own consulting business that will advise properties and brands on expanding their businesses, serving clients and engaging consumers worldwide. He will continue to serve on the boards of Gannett Co., the College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He plans to remain in Atlanta.

“I think of this as my fourth chapter,” said McCune, who began his career in sports as a high school basketball coach, joined a startup media venture co-owned by Anheuser-Busch and worked in marketing at Anheuser-Busch before joining Coca-Cola in 1993. “I want to take the coaching, the startup experience and the experience with big brands and follow my passions in the sports and entertainment world in more of an entrepreneurial way.”

At Coke, McCune earned a reputation as an advocate for the company’s marketing interests and a champion of creating new ways for sponsors to promote their connection with a property. Prior to the London Games, he pushed the International Olympic Committee to allow sponsors to film digital content from the athletes’ village and post it to company websites, a right that had been reserved for Olympic rights holders. It’s something he would still like to see the IOC allow.

“Scott’s been a leader in providing feedback to all of us about things that would make the sponsorship more valuable for Coca-Cola, and he’s done it in a respectful way that everyone in the Olympic movement respects him for,” said U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun. “You look at what he’s done, and he managed the partnership between two iconic and powerful brands [Coke and the Olympics] well and managed to grow both those brands.”

Seuge, who will succeed McCune, joined Coke’s global sports marketing group in 2006 and oversaw soccer marketing. He was promoted to head of global sports and entertainment marketing in 2009 and spent the last few years concentrating on improving Coke’s music-related marketing. The 38-year-old has made the Forty Under 40 lists for both SportsBusiness Journal/Daily and Billboard.

Peter Franklin, group director, worldwide sports and event management; Ann Boone, global marketing director of the Olympics; and Arnab Roy, global football marketing director, will report to Seuge, who sat beside Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent at the opening ceremony of the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in early September.

Coca-Cola plans to tap different executives to assume McCune’s oversight of Coke’s licensing business and its World of Coca-Cola theme park.