Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) disappointed the market with lower than expected earnings. The same olde story was dragged out. Growing well in developing countries where disposable income is growing. Getting very tired in traditional markets where they are very well-known.
Does Coca-Cola have the stuff to over-come the well identified obstacle or is it over the hill. Check out the board and I’ll have you voting over-the-hill very soon. The board itself is large. Some 17 independent directors. Do you really need such a large group. The average director is 67 years old. Yet you have ten directors over the age of 70. Five of the newer ones are under 60.
The average tenure is 11 years. Three directors have been on the board for over 30 years. 3 more have been on the board over 10 years.
Lets take a look at the over 70 crowd. What do they bring to the table.
Herbert Allen 73. 31 years on the board. Dean of venture capital. Helluva good resume. But what is he doing for Coca Cola and their battle to become dominant with the Western middle class. Way over due for replacement.
Barry Diller 71. 11 years on the board. Chairman of IAC/Interactive Trying to find his way through the digital world. Whats does he bring to the table that Coca Cola needs.
Donald Keough 86 is considered a saint in the world of Coca Cola. But he is retiring. Veteran of cola wars.
James Robinson 77 is the presiding independent director with some 38 years of service. He built his career at American Express finishing as Chairman and CEO in 1993. After 38 years you are well entrenched. His background as an executive does not deal with mass market consumer beverages. It is interesting to note that Warren Buffett is a large core investor in both Coca Cola and American Express.
Donald McHenry 76 32 years on the board is an academic and consultant. Whatever it is that he had is not helping the consumer beverages wars.
Ronald Allen 71 has 22 years on the board. He retired in 1997 as Chairman, President and CEO of Delta Airlines. While he may understand the price of fuel, airport landing slots and the advantages of Boeing over Airbus can he move a few cases of Coca Cola.
James Williams 79 has 34 years of experience on the board. Former Chairman and CEO of Suntrust Bank. He is retiring this year.
The Coca-Cola board is old and tired. They are no longer value added. no insights into the Western consumer. No insights into burgeoning foreign markets. This one group of cronies should go sooner than later.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.