Atlanta The Coca-Cola Co. said Friday that outgoing chairman and chief executive Doug Daft would step down from those positions seven months earlier than expected.
The Atlanta-based company said E. Neville Isdell, a former top official for one of its bottlers, officially would take over Tuesday as head of the world's largest beverage maker.
When Coke announced in February that Daft was leaving, it said he would retire as chairman and CEO at the end of 2004. Spokesman Ben Deutsch said Friday the company made that statement then because it did not know how long the search for a replacement would take. Isdell's appointment was announced earlier this month.
Daft will remain at the company until his retirement and will assist in the transition, Deutsch said. It is not clear now when Daft's retirement will take effect, but Daft will no longer be in his current positions after Tuesday, Deutsch said.
Coca-Cola shares rose 3 cents to close at $51.35 in trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.