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Aussie Coke boss talks jobs, innovation

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Coca Cola Amatil’s new CEO has not ruled out job cuts and mentioned future product innovation during an interview over the weekend.

Speaking to Financial Review Sunday, Alison Watkins – who has been in her role since February – said, “When you are in an environment where volumes are not growing a huge amount and revenue can’t grow be­cause of the challenges around price, it is inevitable you have to look at costs and I think everyone understands that.”

Watkins explained that, “Over time we will have to maintain or reduce our workforce, we have to get into the detail of that to understand.”

On the SPC Ardmona division, for which co-investment funds from the federal government were sought and refused earlier in the year, Watkins said the business had a “really strong future”.

Coca Cola’s commitment to innovation was questioned last month by the local distributor of German beverage company and competitor Bionade.

”It was a great product in the last 30 years but they didn’t realise that consumers are looking for new alternatives,” Karsten Knorr, director Drinks Beverage Logistics said.

“There’s no innovation in that company any more.”

Watkins said yesterday that new products were under development.

“There are more exciting, functional, niche beverages,” offered Watkins.

“We have to look at those because they help us understand what consumers are wanting and being in touch with changing tastes. Coconut water would be an example.”

Image: News Corp

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