Coca-Cola Great Britain has appointed company veteran Paul Grace as marketing director.

Grace has spent 21 years with the company across both European and UK roles, most recently as sales director at distributor Coca-Cola Europe Partners. Grace does not have a typical marketing background having previously held roles such as commercial controller, innovation controller and shopper marketing controller.

In his new role, he will be responsible for the development of the company’s marketing strategy and activation in Great Britain and Ireland. This will include campaigns for brands such as Coca-Cola, Glaceau Smartwater, Schweppes and Fuze Tea, as well as the recently announced Premier League partnership.

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The appointment comes at a critical time for Coca-Cola as it widens its drinks portfolio to reduce its reliance on fizzy drinks, sales of which have been hit by changing consumer habits and the introduction of the sugar tax.

Grace will have to develop marketing strategies not just for core brand such as classic Coke but new launches such as Fuze Tea. That is a strategy that Coca-Cola is developing centrally, according to the company’s sparkling drinks CMO Javier Meza, as it focuses on its strategy to become a ‘total beverage company’.

“Coca-Cola has a leadership position so the marketing model for that brand is not the same as what we want to do with a brand like Powerade because in most markets it is a challenger. And in some categories we are not even a challenger we are just exploring.

“That for me is the biggest change in this growth to becoming a total beverage company, adjusting the marketing models,” Meza recently told Marketing Week.

Grace started the role at the beginning of December and takes over from Aedamar Howlett, who has been in the role since taking over from Bobby Brittain in August 2016. Howlett was promoted to a European marketing role.