Manchester Metropolitan University

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MMU honours Coca-Cola chief

From Leeds estate to US Boardroom

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ONE of Britain’s most successful black media figures has been honoured by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jonathan Mildenhall, head of global marketing for Coca-Cola and a graduate of MMU Business School, is recognised for his contribution to the marketing and advertising professions.

The 40-year-old received an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration at the MMU Business School Graduation Ceremony at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Saturday, July 12.

Brought up on a poor Leeds estate and from a mixed-race background, Jonathan has had a meteoric rise in his profession. In 2007 he was 4th in the Guardian ethnic minority media industry power list and is a champion of black social mobility.

Self-belief is key

Jonathan told graduands: "If you fiercely want something, and you know you are top talent, there really isn't a great deal that will stand in your way. We just have to get more ethnic minorities to believe it."

Professor Huw Morris, Dean of MMU Business School, said: "Jonathan’s meteoric career development is the stuff of legends in the business, creative and advertising world.

"We encourage all our people to be charismatic professionals who are achievers, so MMU is very proud that Jonathan started his personal development here with us within the Business School."

On gaining his BA (Hons) Business and Finance from MMU in 1990, Jonathan Mildenhall joined McCann-Erickson as a trainee and has worked his way up through many of the top agencies including Mother where he was strategy director and TBWA where he was managing director.

Top brands

Jonathan has worked on some of the world’s largest and best brands including Nescafe, Walls, Audi, Smirnoff, Vauxhall, The Sun, Sony Playstation, Nissan and Thomas Cook.

In 2007, Jonathan was appointed as the Vice President of Coca-Cola for Global Marketing Strategy and Creative Communications, where he oversees global output from a strategic, creative and operational point of view for Coca-Cola.

He has served as co-chair of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Ethnic Diversity Committee, alongside his role as a council steering member for the IPA. Jonathan has also worked as a Fellow of the British American Project, designed to establish stronger transatlantic relationships across both public and private sectors.

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