You already know that Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is the best-known brand name in the world, just ahead of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM). The global king of fizzy drinks made 71% of its sales outside North America last year, and the international flavor to those sweet cash flows is only getting stronger.

Given all of that, you might expect Coke to have some international representation on its board of directors -- but you'd be horribly wrong. Until now, that is. Bright and early in the new year, Swedish master investor Jacob Wallenberg will join the Coke board. He will step right into the diversity and corporate governance committees, too. The appointment should bring a new and much needed perspective to the global giant's challenges and opportunities. That'll come in handy in staving off a global challenge from archrival Pepsi (NYSE:PEP), though it's harder to see how Wallenberg might contribute to the U.S. fight, where Pepsi is posing the biggest challenge.

Coke isn't unique in its all-American board composition, even among the largest and best-run companies. The 492 U.S.-based companies in the S&P 500 index currently have a grand total of one board member who doesn't live and work in the U.S. of A. That's Farshid Sadr-Hashemi, a London-based Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH) executive who joined the company from Dutch megabank ABN AMRO (NYSE:ABN). But even Farshid might not count -- his seat is on the board of a European Lehman subsidiary, not the master group itself.

Many companies have diversity committees, but few seem to put that principle into action in what is the highest governing body of every public business. Out of Coca-Cola's 13 directors, there are just two women -- one of whom came aboard only two months ago -- and hardly any minority representation. Wallenberg doesn't change either of those numbers.

American executives sit on European and Asian boards all the time. I think it's only fair to start reversing the talent flow a bit, and call on fresh ideas from the best business minds in the world -- no matter where they live. It's almost criminal not to do it in this age of teleconferencing and business meetings in virtual reality.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Coca-Cola shareholder and an honest-to-Odin Swede, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure looks great in red and white -- or blue and yellow.