The Business Year

Carlos Martí­n Carrión

COLOMBIA - Industry

Carlos Martí­n Carrión

Vice President & General Manager, Coca-Cola Colombia and Venezuela

Bio

Carlos Martín Carrión has an undergraduate degree in business management from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid a master’s in marketing from CESMA. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of mass consumption, having held roles in Spain, France, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. His last position was general director of The Coca-Cola Company for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Today, he is the President of Operations of Coca-Cola for Colombia and Venezuela.

Coca-Cola is optimistic about further growth in Colombia. The company designs products that offer a wide range of choices to its consumers while advancing its sustainability agenda.

What is Coca-Cola working on in Colombia?

We have been working on three pillars in recent months as we pursue our overall agenda. The first is the economic recovery, in which we work closely with small and medium-sized retailers, carrying out plans to help them adapt to the new normal. The second pillar is sustainability. We have been working on this agenda diligently to reach the targets we set in 2018 for our sustainability strategy: World Without Waste. In Colombia, six out of 10 bottles we place in the market are recycled. Our bottles are 96% recyclable and are in 40% made from recycled material. We are proud of our work in that regard. The third pillar is product innovation, involving new products and entering new categories. Colombia is the fifth market in the world for Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, a new category in alcoholic beverages. We have also launched a new formula for Coca-Cola that is closer to the original taste, but with zero sugar.

What programs outline Coca-Cola’s commitment to adaptability?

The world has changed over the past 18 months. We have been working closely with our retailers and the entire service chain. This is mainly due to the fact that there are distinct new trends, for example, takeout and delivery. It has been booming over the past few years, and moreover it has been a digital boom. It is totally different from three years ago. We have been working closely with digital partners to develop tools that adapt to the new standards in the value chain. For example, we are accepting more direct store orders digitally to facilitate the speed of transactions. We updated our offer to digital and are promoting more digitally as well. One great example of that is Wabi, a platform where you can order your favorite products with a direct delivery from your neighborhood warehouse. We are watching this adapt to the new situation and we note that the interaction is increasing. Another example is our B2C platform, Coca-Cola en tu Hogar, where you can order any Coca-Cola product to your home for delivery. This transformation has been key. Another important enabler for this transformation that we are seeing on the retail side is that we are moving toward a new network organization that combines the strategy Coca-Cola has with its knowledge of different markets. We are combining several units into one, in our case, now we work as a Latam operating unit, which is allowing us to be more agile and accelerate our transformation into being more digital, and quickly adapt global strategies to local operations.

Where do you want to see Coca-Cola in the medium and long term in the country?

Colombia is a key market for Coca-Cola, and not only because of its size. It does have 40% of the GDP of this region and the third-largest population in Latin America, but it is the resilience and the way our people behave that encourages the company. There is a can-do attitude here, and for us as Coca-Cola, that makes it key. Coca-Cola will also be important for Colombia. When I think of the coming years, I am envisioning much of the same: still moving forward, understanding our consumers, and designing products that offer a wide range of choices. Meanwhile, it is important to advance our sustainability agenda and look for new ways to make it happen. We also want to work in product and packaging innovation and launch products of benefits, be it low sugar or no sugar at all. We want to support communities and increase gender equality. Our agenda is about consistency in that regard, but we also need to strategize on how to advance and think differently. Fortunately, we have an amazing team working on that, which makes us all the more confident in the future in Colombia. 

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