He succeeds Neville Isdell as CEO. Isdell will continue as chairman until Coke's annual shareholders meeting in April 2009, the Wall Street Journal said,
Kent called his promotion "an extraordinary honor."
Turkey-born Kent returned to Coca-Cola in May 2005 as president of the North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and chief operating officer a year ago.
As chief operating officer, he oversaw a number of significant moves, including the $4.1 billion purchase of the vitamin water maker Glaceau in May.
From 1995 to 1998, Kent was managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil Europe, with bottling operations in 12 countries. From 1999 to 2005, he was president and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, one of Europe's largest international beverage businesses.