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

Climbed The Corporate Ladder

Although Goizueta and his family were uprooted, he was fortunate to still have a job with Coca-Cola. The family settled in Miami and Goizueta became the assistant to the senior vice-president of Coca-Cola for Latin America. He commuted to his office in Nassau, Bahamas and he oversaw technical operations for soft drinks, coffee, and tea in the region. In 1964 Goizueta was relocated to the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta to help modernize Coke's management systems. He became the first immigrant employee to work at the company's headquarters. Goizueta successfully reorganized Coke's corporate engineering department and was rewarded with a promotion in 1966 to vice president of technical research and development. At the age of 35, Goizueta was the youngest vice president in the company's history.

When Goizueta fled Cuba he had hoped to one day return to his native country. However, political developments of the 1960s had made this an unlikely possibility. The family settled into life in Atlanta and Goizueta became a United States citizen in 1969. A year later the family suffered a major tragedy when they learned that their youngest son Carlos, who was born after they immigrated to the United States, was diagnosed with leukemia. The child died soon after receiving the diagnosis.

Goizueta buried his personal sorrows in his work. He quickly gained a reputation at Coke as a level-headed and reliable manager. In 1974 Goizueta was promoted to senior vice president of Coke's technical division and he was finally told the secret formula for Coke, which was a sure sign that he had made it into the inner circle of Coke's management team. This promotion brought Goizueta closer to Coke's retired chief executive officer, Robert Woodruff, who still exerted considerable influence on the company as the largest shareholder. However, Woodruff was often at odds with company president Paul Austin, and Goizueta had to balance his loyalties between the two men carefully. In November of 1979 Goizueta became one of seven men promoted to the office of vice chairman, putting him in the running to become the successor of the ailing Austin.

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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