If you want to become a billionaire, the most likely path is to start a business. There have been a few billionaires over the years who have amassed their fortunes through careful investing, filmmaking, and even book authoring. Regardless of the path, practically all billionaires can owe their money to some form of personal endeavor, whether it’s launching a hedge fund or pursuing directing. There are, however, a limited handful of people who have been able to reach the illusive ten-figure threshold while working as employees their entire lives.
Roberto Goizueta, a Cuban immigrant, was the first to accomplish this extraordinary achievement. So, how did a Cuban refugee become the world’s first 9-to-5 billionaire? Roberto Goizueta was born in Havana, Cuba on November 18, 1931. Roberto’s family was actually pretty prosperous when he was a child. His father was an architect who ran a profitable building and hardware company. His mother, on the other hand, was the heir of a big sugar plantation. Roberto actually grew up in a home built by his grandfather, so life was fairly wonderful for him. In his early years, he attended local private schools at Havana before enrolling in Cheshire Academy, a preparatory school. In the Connecticut town of New Haven, Roberto did well enough in school to gain admission to Yale University, where he majored in chemical engineering. In 1953, Roberto graduated from Yale.
After graduation, Roberto married Olga Castillero and returned to Havana. upon graduation, His father wished for Roberto to work in the family business, but Roberto had other plants. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps, Roberto searched around the newspaper for a way to build a name for himself. When you spotted an advertisement for a bilingual chemical engineer from an obscure business, the company turned out to be Coca Cola, and Roberto was hired. However, his father only consented to allow Roberto take the job if he pledged to work every Saturday at the family business.
On July 4th, 1954, Roberto agreed to his father’s terms and accepted the position. The position wasn’t particularly spectacular, but it paid $500 per month, which is almost $5,000 now. His pals apparently felt he was insane for taking a job. Instead of working for his father’s company, he works at Coca Cola. But, over the next five years, Roberto quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming the main technical director for all five of Coca bottling Cola’s plants in Cuba.
Downtime of Life:-
Nothing seemed to be going wrong at this moment. Roberto had a good job, and even if he lost it, he had a wonderful family to fall back on. However, in January 1959, Communist Leader Fidel Castro led an uprising against the Cuban government, and he would successfully overthrow the government a month later. Fidel Castro immediately declared himself president of Cuba and declared that he would take over all private firms.
Escape to USA:-
Roberto soon dispatched his children to reside with relatives in the US, but he and his parents planned to stay in Cuba as long as possible. In August 1960, the family decided it was time to go, and they would take a family vacation. As an excuse, their family had successfully escaped communism when they arrived in Miami, but they had lost everything in the process. The family was residing in a small motel room and had only $40 and 100 Coca-Cola shares left. To make matters worse, the new Cuban government would seize all of Coca assets Cola’s in Cuba, as well as the assets of their families, just two months later, so there was no turning back.
The sole bright spot in the situation. Was that Coca Cola did not lay off or fire Roberto, but because Coca Cola had lost all of its assets in Cuba, Roberto had to start from nothing. Coca Cola relocated Roberto to the Bahamas in 1961, where he worked as a scientist. Given Roberta’s previous expertise, though, it didn’t take long for him to work his way back up the corporate ladder. By 1963, Roberto had been elevated to staff assistant, then to senior vice president for Latin America, and in 1964, he was sent to Coke’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Roberto was elevated to Vice President of Technical Research & Development just two years later, making him the youngest person in history to hold that post.
Success in Coca Cola:-
However, this was only the beginning. While Roberto was working as a vice president, Robert Woodruff, the former chairman of Coca-Cola, was quite impressed with his performance. Woodruff was 77 years old at the time and had recently retired from Coca-Cola, but he still had an important position within the firm. Soon, Woodruff and Roberto became friends, and they frequently ate lunch together. It’s assumed that would regard Roberto to be his pupil. Roberto was moved to senior vice president of the Technical Division many years later, in 1974, and to executive Vice President of the Technical Division just one year after. Roberto worked as one of Coca-executive Cola’s vice presidents until 1979, when the company’s President, J Lucien Smith, resigned, preventing Roberto from rising to the position of vice chairman. Coca-Cola had six vice chairman at the time. And these men were thought to be the next in line to become Chairman and CEO.
However, the system would be revised within a year. Four of the vice chairman would be promoted to executive vice presidents, while Roberto would take on the role of director president and Chief Operating Officer. As CEO of Roberto Limited, he chose high fructose corn syrup over natural sugar from Coca-Cola sodas because it was 40% cheaper. This astute financial choice impressed Woodruff even more, and a year later, in 1981, when Paul Austin, the prior CEO, retired, Roberto was selected as the new CEO and Chairman of Coca-Cola with a strong recommendation from Woodruff, and this is when Roberto would truly demonstrate his ability.
In terms of revenue and profitability, Coca Cola was doing well, but a storm was brewing in the background. Coca Cola sales have been stagnant for quite some time, and this was not due to market saturation. The soft drink business was still expanding, and Coca Cola wasn’t seeing any expansion since Pepsi was eating it. Follow-up courtesy to John Sculley’s marketing genius. Coca Cola was still outselling Pepsi at soda fountains, but Pepsi had surpassed Coca Cola in their food store sector since 1979 and was rapidly gaining market share. So Roberto called an executive meeting and detailed his 1980s strategy.
Strategies of Coca Cola:-
What is the most important point? With this meeting, he pounded home the importance of reinvestment. In his head. The concept was straightforward: borrow money at low interest rates, invest it in high-yielding assets, and pocket the difference. Coca Cola, on the other hand, was utterly unfamiliar with the concept. Coca Cola has never borrowed money in its entire history, so many officials were sceptical of Robert’s offer. They all understood their Coca Cola needed a big overhaul to reclaim market share from Pepsi. As a result, they agreed to it. Roberto’s first important choice was to launch your beverages, the first of which was Diet Coke in 1982. Diet Coke was a huge success, and Roberto followed it up with Cherry Coke in 1985, which was also a huge moneymaker for Coca Cola. Roberto, on the other hand, was not without flaws. In 1985, Roberto also oversaw the release of New Coke, which modified the classic recipe, despite the fact that Coca Cola had accumulated a substantial quantity of objective data indicating that customers prefer the flavour of New Coke over the original coke.
The market, however, did not react favourably. There was something about the nostalgia and familiarity of original Coca Cola that even Coca Cola couldn’t match. Roberto, on the other hand, made no fuss about his strange reaction. Within 79 days, he had listened to the market and brought back the original Coca Cola Formula. Aside from trying out new cocktails, Roberto. Coca Cola’s marketing strategy was completely revamped. Coca Cola had previously been fairly passive in their marketing. Roberto changed this by adding slogans such as “Coke is it!” “You can’t beat the sensation!” and “Always Coca Cola.” This aggressive attitude was carried over into the company’s expansion attempts. For example, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Roberto immediately extended the company into Eastern Europe, despite the region’s tumultuous economic situation.
While this was a risky approach at the time, Coke quickly surpassed Pepsi as the favoured soft drink in Europe. Three years later, intensive marketing helped Coca Cola become one of the world’s most recognisable brands. It is estimated that 94 percent of the world’s population recognises the Coca Cola spread and white logo. Throughout the 1980s, Roberto also spent a lot of money on vertical integration, investing in a variety of different bottling companies, which helped Coca Cola to dramatically lower their operational expenses and improve their earnings.
Roberto also experimented with ventures outside of the beverage industry for a short period of time. Coca Cola, for example, paid $692 million for Columbia Pictures in 1992. Initially, the investment underperformed, but after the release of Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures surged, and Roberto was able to sell the firm for a $1.5 billion profit in 1989. Despite his success, Roberto believed that it was best to concentrate his efforts in a single industry. Roberto was a firm believer that the main aim of any business was to make money. The goal was to maximise shareholder returns, and as long as a leader did a good job, things would fall into place.
Being focused and assertive, in his perspective, was the most effective way to accomplish this, and that’s exactly what he did. Unfortunately, a Roberta’s career would end prematurely during his prime. Roberto had been a cigarette smoker his entire life, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 1997. Despite Robertas, he died barely one month later, on October 19th, 1997, at 8:65 a.m. Before his untimely death in 1996, he had already done wonders for Coca Cola.
Coca-Cola outsold Pepsi by a three-to-one margin on a global scale, and earnings and stock prices had skyrocketed. When Roberto took over Coca Cola in 1981, the corporation was valued at $2.8 billion. However, Coca Cola was valued at $184 billion shortly after his death. To put things in perspective, that’s a 64 X return in just 17 years. Coca Cola stock has only increased by 31% after Robert’s death. It’s no surprise that Warren Buffett made so much money from Coca Cola. Roberto Goizueta, one of the most respected and highly acclaimed CEOs of all time, has led this extraordinary success, and many of his management theories are taught in the world’s most elite business schools today.
Given all of this, I don’t believe you’d be surprised to learn that at the time of his death, Roberto was worth $1.3 billion, making him the world’s first employee billionaire. What are your thoughts about Roberto? Insanity ascends to the summit. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.