Source of Wealth: Coca-Cola CompanyAge: 88Birth Place: Havana, CubaFull Name: Roberto Crispulo GoizetaNationality: CubaDate of Birth: November 18, 1931Occupation: Chairman, Director and (CEO) of The Coca-Cola CompanyEducation: Yale University
Cuban businessman Roberto Goizeta had an estimated net worth of $1.38 billion at the time of his death. Born Roberto Crispulo Goizeta on November 18, 1931 to a prominent family in Havana, Cuba, he attended Colegio de Belen, a Jesuit secondary school and later studied for a year at the Cheshire Academy, a preparatory school in Connecticut.
Goizueta went to Yale University in 1948 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He later returned to Cuba in 1953 to work in the family business. After a year, he replied to an anonymous want ad in his local newspaper and worked for the Coca-Cola bottler in the country. He was later promoted to Chief Technical Director of five Cuban bottling plants.
During that time, Fidel Castro rose to power and transformed the island into a communist state. The family defected to the United States with $40 and 100 shares of Coca-Cola stock, Goizueta taking a job at the Miami plant. He was moved to the headquarters of the company in Atlanta, Georgia in 1964. At 35, he was named Vice President of Technical Research and Development, and became the youngest person to ever hold the position at the company. He was promoted to lead the Legal and External Affairs department in 1975.
Roberto Goizueta was surprisingly named the President of the Coca-Cola Company after then officer J. Lucian Smith, who served as the President between 1974 and 1979, resigned. He became the chairman in March 1981 after Chairman J. Paul Austin, who served president from 1962 to 1971, resigned. He remained in the company until his death in 1997 due to complications from lung cancer.
During his tenure in the company, Roberto was responsible for making the Coca-Cola brand the best-known trademark in the world. He also approved the purchase of Columbia Pictures in 1982, which signalled the company’s intention to branch out from the soft-drink business. However, he was uncomfortable in doing business in an area he was not familiar with, leading to the 1989 sale of Columbia Pictures to Sony for $3 billion. He also served on the Board of Directors of several companies, including SunTrust Banks, the Ford Motor Company, and the Eastman Kodak Company.