1996 Chief Executive Of The Year Awards Dinner

Precisely 11 ,years ago, I announced the undoing of what some people called ‘the marketing blunder of the century’ by [...]

September 1 1996 by Chief Executive


Precisely 11 ,years ago, I announced the undoing of what some people called ‘the marketing blunder of the century’ by bringing back the original Coca-Cola formula,” said The Coca-Cola Co.’s Roberto Goizueta in accepting the 1996 Chief Executive of the Year award at a gala dinner at New York’s Metropolitan Club in July. “And I can tell you that being named Chief Executive of the Year is much more pleasant than opening mail addressed to ‘Chief Dodo, The Coca-Cola Co.”‘

Goizueta  was feted by some 300 well-wishers, mostly CEOs and their spouses, at CE’s 11th annual black-tie event. A selection committee of CEOs, including 1995 Chief Executive of the Year, Wal-Mart’s David Glass, chose Goizueta from a group of finalists determined by CE readers, who applauded the CEO for, among other things, “leading Coca-Cola to be the first truly global company residing in America.”

Upon receiving the Orrefors crystal award from CE CEO Arnold Pollard and Editor-in-Chief J.P. Donlon and John Lawson, president of Canadair Business Aircraft, the dinner’s co-sponsor (see above photo, left to right), Goizueta admitted with a sly smile: “I love my job. Every morning, I wake up with two thoughts: First, that 6 billion people are going to get thirsty today. And second, that I cannot wait to see our system at work, quenching that thirst.”

At CE’s traditional pre-dinner ceremony, Glass was presented with a bronzed bust, or “lifemask,” created Santa Fe artist Willa Shalit, who has molded similar masks for Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush and notables such as Seiji Ozawa. Glass (see photo below, left) later took the podium to praise Goizueta and his team for “building the most recognizable brand in the world, never compromising that vision for short-term strategy, and raising the bar for all of us in terms of a fetish for return on capital.”

“Roberto promises and always delivers,” Glass said simply. “And I, for one, will devote more of the 64 ounces I drink every day to Coca-Cola.”