Roberto Goizueta

Infobox Person
name = Roberto C. Goizueta

caption =
birth_date = Birth date|1931|11|18
birth_place = Havana, Cuba
death_date = death date and age|1997|10|18|1931|11|18
death_place = Atlanta, Georgia
other_names =
known_for = CEO/Chairman of Coca-Cola (1980-1997)
occupation =
nationality = Cuban

Roberto Crispulo Goizueta (November 18, 1931 - October 18, 1997) was Chairman, Director, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Coca-Cola Company from August 1980 until his death in October 1997.

Under the direction of Goizueta, investors saw The Coca-Cola Company become a top US corporation. He is credited with invigorating the company with a global vision. In the process, he created more wealth for shareholders than any other CEO in history.Fact|date=April 2008


Roberto Goizueta was born into a prominent family in Havana, Cuba, where his grandfather owned a Cuban sugar refinery. He was the only son of Crispulo and Aida Goizueta.

In Havana, Goizueta attended Colegio de Belén [ The International Jesuit Alumni Directory Belen (Forum Press Inc., 1994)] , a Jesuit secondary school and later studied for a year in the United States at the Cheshire Academy, a preparatory school in Connecticut. At Cheshire, Goizueta bettered his English skills by watching American movies.

He began studies at Yale University in 1948, earning a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering. In 1953, he returned to Cuba to work in his family's business.

Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba, transforming the island into a communist state. While on vacation in Miami, Goizueta and his family decided to defect to the United States. At the time of their defection, they had $40 and 100 shares of Coca-Cola stock.

Career at The Coca-Cola Company

A year after returning to Cuba to work in his families business, replying to an anonymous want ad in his local newspaper, Goizueta found himself working for the Coca-Cola bottler in Cuba. A short time later he was promoted to Chief Technical Director of five Cuban bottling plants.

After defecting to the United States, Goizueta worked for The Coca-Cola Company in Miami. He was re-assigned to Nassau, Bahamas as a Chemist for the Caribbean region.

In 1964 he was moved to the headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of 35, he became Vice President of Technical Research and Development. He remains the youngest person to hold this position at The Company. In 1975, he was promoted to lead the Legal and External Affairs department.

Robert Goizueta received a stunning appointment in 1979, to become President of The Coca-Cola Company after then officer J. Lucian Smith resigned. In March 1981, he assumed the chairmanship after Chairman J. Paul Austin retired.

Goizueta remained at the helm of The Coca-Cola Company for sixteen years until the time of his death, due to complications from lung cancer, in 1997.

During his tenure, the Coca-Cola brand became the most well-known trademark in the world. He introduced the Coke slogans "Coke is it!", "You Can't Beat the Feeling" and "Always Coca-Cola". He launched Diet Coke, as well as the ill-fated New Coke.

He also sat on the Board of Directors for various companies, including, SunTrust Banks, Inc., The Ford Motor Company, and The Eastman Kodak Company.

Goizueta was famous for his business rivalry with fellow businessman Roger Enrico, CEO of PepsiCo.


Roberto Goizueta was a trustee, and many times sat on the board of many educational charitable institutions.

In 1992, he established The Goizueta Foundation, with a goal to support educational and charity institutions. "The purpose of The Goizueta Foundation is to assist organizations that empower individuals and families through educational opportunities to improve the quality of their lives."

The Goizueta Business School at Emory University

In 1994, after a $10 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Board of Trustees at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, named its business school after Roberto Goizueta. The school grants BBAs, MBAs, and PhDs in business. Emory University has an extensive history with Coca-Cola. In 1899, Methodist Bishop Warren Candler's brother Asa Candler was elected to Emory's Board of Trustees and was a generous patron of the university.

In January 1999, the estate of Goizueta pledged $20 million to Emory University. [cite web|url=|title=Emory University: Highlights of Excellence and Achievement 1999]


"The cynics will tell you that the good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. I say, do it anyway."

"Opportunity...ours to seize...ours to live...and ours to defend. Or otherwise - ultimately - ours to lose."

"Lack of integrity renders worthless all other values. Without integrity no other personal quality has much value ... because integrity overrides everything else."

"Once you lose everything, what's the worst that's going to happen to you? You develop a self-assurance."

"We're going to take risks. What has always been will not necessarily always be forever."

"State expectations. Meet expectations. Repeat." -- (on creating credibility.)

"The moment avoiding failure becomes your motivation, you're down the path of inactivity. You stumble only if you're moving." "In order to show proper respect for your future, you must sometimes show some insensitivity to your past."

"Integrity... it means doing what is right. Not necessarily what is correct -- no one is correct all the time. But doing what is right."

"Communication is the only task you cannot delegate."

"If you take risks, you may fail. But if you do not take risks, you will surely fail. The greatest risk of all is to do nothing."


* Became the first CEO to gain billionaire status from a company which he did not found.
* Loved dogs. As a young man, was certified as show judge for the Boxer breed.
* His champion Pembroke Welsh Corgi showdog Ch. Just Enuff of The Real Thing, "Fizz," won "Best of Breed" at The Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1996 and 1997.

ee also

*List of Cubans


Further reading

*cite book | author=Allen, Frederick | title=Secret Formula: How Brilliant Marketing and Relentless Salesmanship Made Coca-Cola the Best-Known Product in the World | publisher=HarperBusiness | year=1995 | id=ISBN 0-88730-751-5
*cite book | author=Greising, David | title=I'd Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta | publisher=Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated | year=1999 | id=ISBN 0-471-34594-6

External links

* [ The Roberto Goizueta Foundation Website]
* [ Roberto Goizueta in Georgia]
* [ Goizueta Business School]

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