June 10, 2012
[...] Stretched before [Todd Putman] was a ballroom full of public health officials and community activists, gathered in Washington for a “National Soda Summit” on how to loosen the soda industry’s grip on the American appetite.
[...] Putman, 51, shares that view. But he is also driven by another motive: From 1997 to mid-2000, he was a top marketing executive at Coca-Cola.
“It took me 10 years to figure out that I have a large karmic debt to pay for the number of Cokes I sold across this country,” he said.
He wanted to give an inside account of what he contends has been a drive by Coca-Cola to replace not just its direct competitors but all beverages in the American diet — a campaign for what the company called “share of stomach.” He wanted to warn about the industry’s particular focus on young people and minorities.