Coca-Cola paid CEO $21.6 million for 2012, up slightly from previous year

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Coca-Cola Co. gave Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent a pay package worth $21.6 million last year, as the world’s biggest beverage maker navigated shifting drinking habits in the U.S. and sold more of its drinks overseas.

The compensation is up from the $21.2 million Kent received in 2011, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The bump in pay was mostly the result of Kent’s salary of $1.55 million, which was up 15 per cent from the previous year. Stock and option awards were about even at $13.1 million. All other compensation came to $963,816, which included costs for use of the company plane, a car and drive and contributions to retirement plans.

In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Coca-Cola noted that the company delivered profit growth in a year “marked by continued uncertainty in the global economy.” The Atlanta-based company’s profit in 2012 rose 5 per cent to $9.02 billion, with global sales volume up 4 per cent.

Kent, 60, took the helm as Coca-Cola’s top executive in 2008. About a year later, he unveiled a plan to double the company’s revenue by 2020, fueled by growth in China, India and other countries where the ranks of middle-class people are growing. At the time, Kent noted that Coca-Cola had to pay attention and react to changes in the world, which he said it hadn’t done from 2000 to 2004.

Kent first joined Coca-Cola in 1978 and served in a variety of positions until 1998, when he left to become president and CEO of Efes Beverage Group. He returned to Coca-Cola in May 2005 and was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and chief operating officer of the company in December 2006.

The Associated Press calculation of CEO pay is designed to isolate the value the company’s board placed on the executive’s total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonus, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with regulators.