Coca-Cola is now a worldwide phenomenon, but the man responsible took over when the company was still struggling.
Robert Woodruff was born in Columbus in 1889 and attended but didn’t graduate from Emory College. He took a job in sales with the White Motor Company, where he quickly climbed the corporate ladder. His father was part of a group that bought the struggling Coca-Cola company for $25 million in 1919 and they offered the 33-year-old Woodruff the presidency of the company four years later. He took a pay cut to accept the job, but he and Coca-Cola were on their way.
Woodruff brought a savvy salesman’s touch and a passion for principled success to the company that made Coca-Cola a worldwide household name. Woodruff’s motto was “there’s no limit to what a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit”. His extraordinary philanthropy included a $105 million gift to Emory University in 1979 — at that time the largest donation ever to a single educational institution. His foundation also made the Today in Georgia History series possible.
The man who built one of the great companies in American history was born in Columbus on December 6, 1889, Today in Georgia History.