Coker has joined the Anglo-Swiss giant as head of comms and media relations UK, replacing 16-year company veteran Judith Auchard, who retired six months ago (PRWeek, 30 January).
Coker was comms director at Coke for two years. He subsequently had a stint as CEO and then board director at food and drink agency Phipps PR, which he ceased to work for at the end of last year.
Coker said he aimed to ‘raise the profile’ of Syngenta, a firm at the heart of the debate on genetically modified crops, and to ‘promote the importance of agriculture in the UK, as well as R&D, which is fundamental’.
Syngenta hit the headlines last week when the European Commission authorised the company to market Bt-11 sweetcorn in EU supermarkets.
The landmark ruling, which was condemned by environmental organisations, will allow the insect and herbicide-resistant Swiss-made product to be sold despite an EU growth ban.