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30/05/2006 - Neville Isdell - Chairman & CEO of The Coca-Cola Company

The 30th and 31st May 2006 were two important days in the history of The General Soft Drinks Co Ltd. in Malta.  For the first time in its history the Mizzi family, the local franchisee which has been producing and distributing Coca Cola products since 1970 welcomed the Chairman and Chief Executive officer of The Coca Cola Company, Mr. E. Neville Isdell.

Mr. Isdell was accompanied on this visit by Mr. John Brownlee, his executive assistant, Mr. Michael Johannsen, Mediterranean Division President for The Coca Cola Company and Mr. Roberto Greco from the offices in Athens.  Mr. Isdell was on his way from Algiers to Rome and despite his busy schedule he decided to accept the invitation Mr. Brian Mizzi had extended to him a year earlier when the two met in London, during the launch of the Manifesto for Growth forum The Coca Cola Company organised for its European bottlers.

During his short visit to our island, Mr. Isdell made sure he made the most of his 48 hour stay.  After an introduction to the scenario of the local beverage scene by Mr. Brian Mizzi, Managing Director and Ms Maria Micallef, General Manager for The General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd., Mr. Isdell met with the Senior Management team of the Company. He subsequently spent a considerable amount of time touring the supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels & kiosks, in order to meet with the local customers and get the feeling of the market, which is where the interaction with the consumers takes place.  He had high words of praise for the Mizzi family and the management of the Company for the work that has been conducted on the local scene.

Mr. Isdell also had the opportunity to admire the beauty of the Grand Harbour and its surrounding fortifications during a brief boat trip aboard the Fernandez from Vittoriosa to Sliema.  During his stay in Malta he had the opportunity to meet with the Hon. Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of Malta, the Hon Dr. Austin Gatt Minister for Investment, Industry & Information Technology and the Hon. Mr. George Pullicino, Minister for Rural Affairs and Environment.

On the second evening of his visit Mr. Isdell and his team were hosted by Mr and Mrs Brian Mizzi at Mr. Maurice Mizzi’s residence in Ras Rihana. The gardens of this house offered the most idyllic surroundings possible for Mr. Isdell to meet with the Mizzi family and board of Directors.  A sumptuous dinner was prepared by the outside catering unit of the Waterfront Hotel.

During this evening Mr. Isdell took the opportunity to thank the Mizzi family for their investments and hard work on the local scene. Together with Mr. Brian Mizzi, he inaugurated the 8 million Maltese liri investment the Mizzi family will be embarking upon to build new production and distribution facilities on the island, in order for the Company to be able to meet the ever changing market demands and challenges.  Mr. Isdell ended the evening by thanking Mr. Brian Mizzi for the impeccable organisation of his entire visit to our island and stated that he hoped that one day he would return to this destination.  He concluded by auguring the Mizzi family continued success.