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Coca-Cola CEO: More uncertainty is the 'biggest issue'

Key Points
  • Coca-Cola CEO and incoming Chairman James Quincey says greater global uncertainty is the biggest issue.
  • Like others at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Quincey said he expects to see slower growth this year.
  • But he says U.S.-China trade tensions are not weighing on him.
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Coca-Cola CEO: More uncertainty is the ‘biggest issue’

As international business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum weigh slowing economic growth, Coca-Cola CEO and incoming Chairman James Quincey has another concern — uncertainty.

"I think that in a way, the biggest issue is not so much that we see a little less growth, but there's more uncertainty," Quincey said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange " in Davos, Switzerland.

Quincey does agrees with other business titans in Davos, including Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, that economic growth will slow this year, but he doesn't see that as a headwind just yet.

James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola Co., speaking at the 2019 WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23rd, 2019.
Adam Galica | CNBC

"There's been more volatility over the last couple years, so I think people are going into it going, 'OK, a little harder than last year,' but I feel a degree of uncertainty out there that you can't quite put your finger on," Quincey said.

One source of uncertainty is the U.S. and China trade war. The countries are trying to negotiate a deal before a 90-day tariff truce expires on March 2. But he said the effect on the beverage company is "slightly indirect" because its products for the China market are made there.

No matter what happens with the economy and global uncertainty, Quincey said the company will focus on keeping up with consumer tastes and solving problems like the sugar content of its drinks and reducing packaging waste.