Coca-Cola Co. has picked a new right-hand-man to oversee its worldwide, beverage empire.

Effective this month, James Quincey, a veteran of 19 years within the Atlanta-born company, has stepped up as president and chief operating officer.

The decision emerged among crescendoed talk that current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent was overworked and in need of operational assistance, according to Coke’s board of directors. In a statement this month, the board predicted the two executives would make a “formidable team” and advance company growth.

Prior to his new role, Mr. Quincey headed operations in 38 countries as president of Coca-Cola’s Europe Group. The company credits him with catalyzing the recent formation of Coca-Cola European Partners Plc., which is set to become the largest independent Coke bottler based on net revenues.

The beverage giant says Mr. Quincey was an early, crucial player in developing the same brand and strategies that carry over to their global footprint today.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from the University of Liverpool, Mr. Quincey began his professional career at the The Kalchas Group as a strategy consultant. He then went on to join Coca-Cola in 1996 where he served as director of the company’s Latin America Group.

“I am excited and honored to take on this role and look forward to partnering with Muhtar and our talented senior leadership team to deliver on our 2020 vision and help accelerate the strategic actions we’ve outlined to reinvigorate growth across our company and system worldwide,” said Mr. Quincey, who plans to move from London to Coke’s Atlanta nucleus, this fall.

Alongside Mr. Quincey’s promotion, longtime executive Ahmet Bozer will retire in March next year from his position as president of Coca-Cola International..