Roberto Críspulo 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, the Coca-Cola Company became a top US corporation. He is credited with invigorating the company with a global vision.
Roberto Goizueta was born into a prominent family in Havana, Cuba. He was an only child. His grandparents on both sides of his family had emigrated from the Spanish Basque Country to Cuba in the late 19th century. 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.
In Havana, Goizueta attended Colegio de Belén, 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.
His son Roberto is a prominent Catholic theologian who is currently the Margaret O'Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology at Boston College.
A heavy smoker, Goizueta died of causes related to lung cancer.