Roberto Goizueta is well known as one of the most successful of all Latino business men. He served as the CEO and Chairman of Coca Cola for seventeen years and during his time there the company saw some of its most successful years. Roberto Goizueta rose from being a poor Cuban immigrant to running one of the largest companies in the world and in doing so he helped to establish that Latino businessmen were capable of running a large multinational company. This greatly increased the opportunities available to other Latinos.
Roberto Goizueta was born and raised in Cuba where his parents owned a sugar mill. During his last year of high school Goizueta went to the United States to attend school. He then entered Yale University from which he graduated with a degree in Chemical engineering. He then returned to Cuba to work at his parent's sugar mill. However when Fidel Castro came to power the family decided to leave. They settled in Miami with about forty dollars as their total assets. They had lost the sugar mill when Castro nationalized all businesses. That meant that Goizueta would have to start over.
After arriving in the United States Roberto Goizueta got a job with the Coca Cola Company in Miami. He rose through the ranks there very quickly and was soon appointed to work in the Bahamas as the chemist for the entire Caribbean region. However he only remained in this job for a couple of years before being assigned to company's headquarters in Atlanta. While working there he was promoted to become a vice president of the company. At the age of thirty five he was the youngest vice president in the history of Coca Cola, a record that remains to this day.
In 1979 Roberto Goizueta was appointed to become the president of the Coca Cola Company. This assignment came as something of a surprise, mainly because his predecessor had resigned rather suddenly. After two years as the president he was promoted to the job of chairman of the board, a position that he held until his death in 1997. It was during Goizueta's reign that Coke became the best known brand in the world. They introduced Diet Coke during this period and also expanded into many new markets. Of course not everything that he did worked out perfectly, it was during this period that the New Coke was introduced.
In addition to his work with Coke Roberto Goizueta was well known for his work as a philanthropist. Most of this work was in the form of helping to create educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. He was a firm believer that education was the best way to help improve people's lives. In part because of the work that he did in this field the new business school at Emory University that was opened in 1994 was named after Roberto Goizueta.