After calling 2015 a “transition year,” the beverage giant struck a bullish tone in February 2016 when it said organic revenue for the year would rise 4% to 5%. It stuck to that target in April despite a more modest increase of just 2% for the first three months of the year. The problem? Wall Street analysts didn’t believe the company could hit that target, and they called out Coke’s top management. Wall Street doubts Coke can hit its 2016 revenue target. That put CEO Muhtar Kent, who saw his total 2015 pay slashed by 42%, on the defense. “We are confident, definitely, in the strategy and initiatives in place to support our growth targets over the course of the year,” Kent said in April. The soda industry’s sales are facing challenges in mature markets as consumers pivot to drinks they deem healthier. And while packaged water is selling strongly and Coke has made investments in startups and even recently made a big splashy launch into the milk category, soda remains a big sales driver. So for now, Coke remains highly dependent on convincing consumers to add soda to their shopping carts.
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