The Business Year

Francisco Crespo

MEXICO - Industry

Can-do Attitude

President, Coca-Cola Mexico

Bio

Francisco Crespo has been President of the Mexico Business Unit at The Coca-Cola Company since January 2013. Previously he was President of the South Latin Business Unit, where he managed the operations for the Company in six countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Crespo joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1989. An Industrial Engineer, he graduated from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. He has also specialized in areas such as finance, marketing, leadership and general management through several programs in prestigious universities and institutions across the world, including the General Management Program from Harvard Business School. Francisco has been part of several associations like the AmCham (American Chamber) in Chile and Argentina; was Board Member of J.R. Lindley, Coca-Cola’s bottling partner in Lima, Peru; independent counselor of the Administration Boards in Mexico of ZURICH Life and ZURICH Insurance Company; and, since 2014, he has been Member of Board of the Aspen Institute Mexico.

"We acquire around $700 million in local agricultural products in Mexico."

How has Coca-Cola’s presence in Mexico developed over the past 90 years?

The development of the Mexican Coca-Cola industry has been the result of a combined effort between us, Coca-Cola Mexico, eight bottlers, Jugos del Valle, and Santa Clara. These local bottlers are not only a key piece of the system, but they have the local knowledge and the local flavor, which obviously makes it the Mexican Coca-Cola industry. Our 90 years in Mexico have been characterized by the outstanding relationship we have built with our customers; those Mexican families who come together to enjoy our products. We have also focused on offering a more diversified range of products for the Mexican market, and our portfolio has grown to include water, milk, and juices. We acquired Jugos Del Valle, one of the most traditional and beloved brands in Mexico, and we have grown it to a billion-dollar brand in eight years. Our commitment has been clear in being a reachable brand for everyone, no matter the distance or geographical region. Our products can be found throughout Mexico, even in places where no cars can go. Weekly we reach over 1.5 million outlets in Mexico alone, and that is a result of the commitment and distribution we have in the country.

How would you characterize the commitment of Coca-Cola to your partners and suppliers in Mexico?

The relationship with the partners and suppliers is tremendous. Integrating a manufacturing network with local suppliers, working with partners who share our ethics and comply with an extensive supply chain, and contributing to the development of local farmers are all key to the development of the company. We employ nearly 92,000 employees directly and over 1.7 million indirectly. We acquire around $700 million in local agricultural products in Mexico. We also invest $1 billion dollars in infrastructure, logistics, training, and social programs in Mexico. We planted over 68 million trees and have recuperated more than 60,000ha. For a second year in a row, we replenished all the water we use for the production of our drinks. We also have the largest bottle recycling plant in the world here in Mexico, which makes us the largest recycler in Latin America. We invest in social responsibility to generate progress in Mexico.

What responsibility do food and beverage companies like Coca-Cola have in confronting health and lifestyle problems such as obesity?

It is a central element here. Obesity is clearly a huge situation of modern society and we need to halt and reduce it. The food and beverage industry has an important role in helping that happen, but it cannot be the only player doing so. As countries and societies, we need to evolve from an agenda that scares and forbids to one that educates, encourages, and incentivizes. When we want people to move, educating them and providing them with incentives to develop better habits is the right answer. We understand that we need to foster and shape the behaviors of consumers, and we want them to consume responsibly. At the center of this is avoiding excess and moderating consumption. It is a proactive agenda and we are doing the best we can at the moment, but we can learn how to do this better by engaging the rest of the industry and embarking on these campaigns together with them.

Coca-Cola is already the number-one brand in terms of consumers in Mexico. Is there still space for growth?

There is a huge space to grow. Even in Mexico, where we have outstanding market development, Coca-Cola satisfies only one out of three non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages that people are drinking. We have a lot to do to offer more choice and provide more relevant options, and this alone represents a substantial growth opportunity. Our mission is not only to refresh people, but also to make a positive difference through a valuable contribution. We need to become an example of inclusive capitalism. We want our customers, communities, and value chain to look at us and believe that we are a reliable partner to support their growth. There are plenty of opportunities to explore and we assign resources to find those opportunities. The key question is whether or not we are going to be able to create a recognized value for society that is sustainable.

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