Ahmet Bozer : Former EVP of The Coca-Cola Company and President of Coca-Cola International
Born and raised in Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Bozer earned his graduate degree in Business Information Systems from Georgia State University. A few years after graduating, Bozer joined The Coca-Cola Company where he would stay for the next twenty-six years, eventually serving as Executive Vice President and President of Coca-Cola International.
When asked about the key to his longevity and success at Coca-Cola, Mr. Bozer stressed the importance of identifying one’s strengths and leveraging them. The factors he identified for himself were competence, win-win relationship building, trust, stakeholder focus, discipline, and values. Bozer’s personal values resonated with those held by Coca-Cola, values such as integrity, authenticity, optimism and community, lived globally. This overlap was a significant part of why Bozer worked with Coca-Cola so well for so long.
After moving back to Atlanta from Istanbul in 2013, he became involved in the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. He believes that part of being a good citizen is being aware of international affairs that impact your community and yourself, and that the Council provides new, global perspectives to Atlanta residents.
Mr. Bozer believes that while cultural awareness and sensitivity are important in large multinational corporations like Coca-Cola, it’s even more important to have a solid foundational knowledge of what is common to humankind. He refers to these traits, such as openness, trust, respect, being heard and understood, as common currency. It doesn’t matter if you speak ten different languages if the stakeholder does not feel listened to and respected. If a company has that foundational common currency in its values and on top of that, builds cultural sensitivity, that makes the culture uniquely appealing.
He views “retirement” as a second phase of his professional career— in his mind he’s not retired, he’s rewired. This phase is divided into three parts for him: business, social investment, and legacy. On the business front, he continues to hold multiple board seats, consultant positions, etc. From the social investment angle, he is mentoring young people, giving speeches at universities, and giving philanthropically. Meanwhile, he is working to establish his legacy by focusing on his passion for people development.
Mr. Bozer believes that we often underestimate our potential because our potential is undefined and unlimited. How one goes after realizing own potential determines his or her life. He believes there is an opportunity to guide this work of uncovering and realizing one’s potential. Mr. Bozer approaches his own growth by being disciplined about managing his personal performance through quality reflections, coaching conversations and being purposeful. He is currently working to put together a system that one can adapt and apply for their own development in pursuit of realizing their potential.
Lastly—I had to ask—his favorite Coca-Cola product?
Classic, plain Coca-Cola.