One of Ireland’s leading boosters and businessmen in the United States is retiring from Coca-Cola. Irial Finan (60) head of the Coca Cola bottling company, considered one of the top executives in the company, will step down in March 2018, a company press release stated.

Finan is on the board of the American Ireland Fund, has been a global leader for investment in Ireland and was very influential in the Irish diaspora outreach strategy. He is very highly regarded in Irish circles.

Coke CEO James Quincey, who is British, has been cutting senior management staff as well as announcing major layoffs.

Finan’s retirement appears to end the Irish American era at Coke, headed up by the late Don Keough, who was the Coca-Cola president from 1981 to 1993 and who subsequently has had a huge influence on the company.

Finan, a native of Roscommon, started his Coca-Cola system career with multiple finance and operational roles across Europe. In 1995, he was promoted to managing director of Molino Beverages, with responsibility for expanding markets, including Ireland, Romania, Russia and Nigeria.

From 2001 to 2003, he served as CEO of bottler Coca-Cola HBC, where he managed the merger and integration of Coca-Cola Beverages PLC and Hellenic Bottling SA. He led the combined company’s operations in 26 countries.

In 2004, Finan became President, Bottling Investments and Supply Chain, and Executive Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company. Finan has been instrumental in leading the company’s bottling operations. At its height, BIG had operations across five continents and more than 80,000 employees.