The annual Coca-Cola Great Britain retirees' lunch at our Wimpole Street headquarters has been running for three decades. We caught up with some of our fantastic alumni to share their fascinating stories.

From addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg to developing the first-ever refillable plastic bottle, here are some of the stories and characters from 2017’s retiree lunch.

Ian Muir (standing) chats to a table of former colleagues at the 2017 Coca-Cola Great Britain retirees' lunch

Ian Muir

Ian retired as Head of External Affairs at Coca-Cola Great Britain in 2000, after working at the company for 34 years. He’s recently taken over organising the retirees' lunch from Peter Hunt, former Director of Government and Industry Affairs.

Reflecting on Coca-Cola Great Britain’s core principles, Ian said that the company has remained true to its values over the years. “The Keep Britain Tidy campaign – which tackles packaging problems – is a cause that we’ve supported for 40 years. We also helped to initiate Tidy Britain in 1965 – in fact one of the attendees here today became Chairman of the organisation after he retired from Coca-Cola Great Britain.”

“For most people, I was the first Brit they had ever met! They’d say ‘Hey, can I buy you a beer?’” – Ian Muir, former Head of External Affairs at Coca-ColaGreat Britain


Ian has many wonderful memories of working at Coca-Cola Great Britain. He travelled the world, including Japan and America, and addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He particularly enjoyed spending a month in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the mid-60s: “By our standards, it was a big town, about 200,000 people. For the vast majority of people, I was the first Brit they had ever met! They’d say ‘Hey, can I buy you a beer?’”

Ian Roberts (left, grey suit) stands for a photo at the 2017 Coca-Cola Great Britain retirees' lunch

Ian Roberts

Ian joined Coca-Cola Great Britain as a Packaging Engineer in 1979 and worked in Atlanta as Global Head of Packaging Development before returning to London as Technical Director.

“I was one the first five people in the country to get a degree in packaging.” – Ian Roberts, former Global Head of Packaging Development in Atlanta

He actually has a degree in packaging: “I was one the first five people in the country to get it. I didn’t do very well in school, but somebody gave me the chance to do a degree. I took that opportunity and made the most of it.”

In the late 1980s, Ian was responsible for developing the first-ever refillable plastic bottle. And he’s still passionate about packaging and recycling: “We live on a resource-limited planet and most materials have a second reuse. Being in packaging, which was one of the biggest resource consumers for the business, I had this passion for making sure we reused resources if we could.”

Once a packaging engineer, always a packaging engineer… Ian says his wife always loses him in the supermarket because he likes to go around looking at all the different packaging designs and seeing how things have changed.

Brigitte Ahtuam with John Lindsay at the 2017 Coca-Cola Great Britain retiree’s lunch

Brigitte Ahtuam

Brigitte occupied the roles of Head of Business Planning at Coca-Cola HBC, Austria and Group Business Planning Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain before retiring in 2004.

This was her first retirees' lunch. She said: “I came here today with no expectation of knowing anybody, so I was amazed with the amount of people I knew. There’s at least 15 people here I remember.”

“The best part of working at Coca-Cola was the opportunities it gave me to travel and appreciate different lifestyles.” – Brigitte Ahtuam, former Group Business Planning Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain


Joining the company straight after university, Brigitte said, “I think the best part of working at Coca-Cola was the opportunities it gave me to travel, to learn different parts of the business, to appreciate different lifestyles. It’s very enriching. As well as working in the UK, I went to Atlanta, France and Austria. I still love to travel.”

Find out more about Coca-Cola Great Britain’s ambition for a sustainable future