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Robert W. Woodruff

Born December 6, 1889
Died March 7, 1985
Nationality United States
Spouse
Children
Parents Ernest Woodruff

Robert Winship Woodruff (December 6, 1889 – March 7, 1985) was the president of The Coca-Cola Company from 1923 until 1954.

Early Years[]

Woodruff was born in Columbus, Georgia, the son of Ernest Woodruff, an Atlanta businessman who, among other things, was leader of the group of investors who bought The Coca-Cola Company from Asa Griggs Candler in 1919. His grandfather was Atlanta manufacturing magnate Robert Winship.

Working Career[]

Spurning his father's work offers, in February 1909 at age 19 he began work as a laborer at the General Pipe and Foundry Company foundry in Inman Park, Atlanta. For a week he shoveled and shifted sand, then worked a lathe as a machinist's apprentice. After a year he was fired. He then accepted a job offer from his father at Atlantic Ice and Coal Company but left after differences with him. Woodruff parlayed his love of early automobiling into a sales position at White Motor Company based in Cleveland, Ohio, and quickly rose to become vice president of that company.

When Coca-Cola got into financial difficulty, the board elected Robert Woodruff as president at the age of 33. Woodruff built Coca-Cola into an international company, establishing a foreign department in 1926. He stepped down as president in 1954, but remained on the board of directors until 1984.

Death[]

He died in 1985 and was buried at the Westview Cemetery in southwest Atlanta. Woodruff's personal chauffeur was Luther Cain, Jr., father of businessman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.