The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is a beverage retailer, manufacturer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. The Coca-Cola formula and brand was bought in 1889 by Asa Candler who incorporated The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. Besides its namesake Coca-Cola beverage, Coca-Cola currently offers more than 500 brands in over 200 countries or territories and serves 1.6 billion servings each day. The company operates a franchised distribution system dating from 1889 where The Coca-Cola Company only produces syrup concentrate which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold an exclusive territory. The Coca-Cola Company owns its anchor bottler in North America, Coca-Cola Refreshments. The Coca-Cola Company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Its stock is listed on the NYSE and is part of DJIA, S&P 500 Index, the Russell 1000 Index and the Russell 1000 Growth Stock Index. Its current chairman and CEO is Muhtar Kent.
In the past year, I've had the honor of speaking on a number of university campuses around the world -- from the London Business School to IMD to MIT. I always walk away from these experiences energized and inspired by the fresh thinking... the rigorous debate... and the entrepreneurial spirit I find at our world's leading business schools.
Coming to Wharton, however, is truly special. This, of course, is where collegiate business education began. More importantly, this is where many of the leading ideas are coming from that will shape business leadership and business development in the years ahead.
Believe me... new ideas and new thinking have never been in more demand in the business world. It's tough out there at the moment -- very tough. The global financial crisis has touched everyone in the...