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Roberto Crispulo Goizueta: 1931-1997: Businessman, Chemical Engineer

Born Into Cuba's Social Elite

Roberto Crispulo Goizueta was born on November 18, 1931, in Havana, Cuba. He was the oldest of three children, and the only son, born to Crispulo and Aida Cantera Goizueta. His grandparents on both sides of his family had emigrated from Spain to Cuba in the late 1800s. His mother's father, Marcelo Cantera, owned a profitable portion of a local sugar mill. His father, Crispulo, was an architect and a real estate investor who inherited Cantera's sugar interests. Goizueta grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in Havana called Vedado. His parents were part of the social elite of pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Goizueta attended the prestigious Jesuit school Colegio de Belen from first grade through high school. He received a classic education and he excelled in math, grammar, geography, and English. He spent many summers at Jesuit camps in the United States, which helped improve his English skills. Goizueta also enjoyed playing soccer, basketball, and baseball in his youth. During his senior year of high school he was named Brigadier of Belen Academy, the highest honor awarded students to recognize outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, and athletics. As a student Goizueta was introduced to the young ladies of Havana's social elite. In particular he became interested in Olguita Casteleiro, a student at the Covenant of the Sacred Heart. When Goizueta graduated from high school the Goizueta and Cantera families agreed that Roberto and Olguita would eventually marry.

In 1948 both Goizueta and Olguita went to the United States to attend preparatory school. Goizueta spent a year at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut to improve his English before attending college in the United States. However, it was in the Cheshire movie theater, rather than the classroom, that Goizueta learned colloquial English. A year later Goizueta graduated valedictorian of his class and he decided to study chemical engineering at Yale University. Goizueta did well at Yale, but for the first time he was not in the top of his class. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1953.

At a Glance . . .

Born Roberto Crispulo Goizueta on November 18, 1931, in Havana, Cuba; died on October 18, 1997, in Atlanta, GA; son of Crispula Goizueta and Aida Cantera Goizueta; married Olguita Casteleiro, June 14, 1953; children: Roberto S., Olga M., Javier C., Carlos (died 1970). Education: Yale University, BS, chemical engineering, 1953.

Career: Industrial Corporation of the Tropics, Process engineer, Havana, Cuba, 1953-54; Coca-Cola Company, Havana, Cuba, Technical director, 1954-60, Nassau, Bahamas, assistant to senior vice president, 1960-64, Atlanta, GA, assistant to vice president of research and development, 1964-66, vice president of technical research and development, 1966-74, senior vice president of the technical division, 1974-75, executive vice president, 1975-79, vice chairperson, 1979-80, president/COO, 1980-81, chair of the board and CEO, 1981-97.

Memberships: Boardmember: Suntrust Banks; Ford Motor Company; Sonat; Eastman Kodak. Trustee: Emory University, 1980-97; American Assembly, 1979-97; Boys Clubs of America; Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, 1990-97; Business Council; Business Roundtable Policy Committee; founding director, Points of Light Initiative Foundation; American Society of Corporate Executives.

Awards: Service of Democracy Award, American Assembly, 1990; National Equal Justice Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1991.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyRoberto Crispulo Goizueta: 1931-1997: Businessman, Chemical Engineer Biography - Born Into Cuba's Social Elite, Left Family Business For Coca-cola, Climbed The Corporate Ladder