INTERNATIONAL: Coke hires comms director for Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO: Coca-Cola's Brazilian divison has hired Eduardo Simbalista as regional communications director.

Simbalista, a former broadcast journalist, takes on the job this month, following a trip to Coca-Cola's global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

The position has been vacant since the departure of Marilene Lopes earlier this year.

Simbalista formerly worked for local media giant Organizacoes Globo.

He was in charge of newscasts for the group's broadcaster TV Globo and headed the group's radio chain.

He has also been executive director of TV Globo's affiliated station TV Vanguarda.

At Coca-Cola, one of his major challenges will be to better integrate the PR efforts of all Coca-Cola's different units in Brazil.

Alongside the central office in Rio, Coca-Cola has another 16 regional franchisee companies covering the Brazilian territory and a plant in Manaus, Amazonas state.

'The idea is to reinforce our image as a company oriented towards citizenship values,' said a Coco-Cola spokesman.

Brazil is the third largest operation of Coca-Cola worldwide - following the US and Mexico.

In 2001, the local division produced 5.9 billion litres of soda, bottled water, juice and energetic drinks and had a 50 per cent share of Brazil's soda market.

The Manaus plant exports soda concentrates to the corporation's divisions in Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Australia, and supplies the local Coca-Cola franchisees.

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