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Goizuetas Legacy Seen Guiding Coca-Cola

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Coca-Cola company chairman Roberto Goizueta, who died on Saturday, left the company a powerful legacy: a clear sense of direction and a well-tuned management team, an analyst who tracks the drinks giant said.

The success of Goizueta is apparent in the success of the company, Emanuel Goldman of PaineWebber said in an interview over the telephone.

If you look at the management ranks they are the strongest they have been in the 25 years I have been covering the company.

Goldman said Goizueta had clearly designated Doug Ivester, the companys president and chief operating officer, as his successor.

Doug Ivester is the obvious successor, thats clear, he said. He planned for his succession, (anyone else) would be incomprehensible. Roberto made his choice, Doug was his choice.

Who will be in what position under Ivester of course has yet to be decided, Goldman said. But they have a good bench.

He said the financial markets already appeared to have taken Goizuetas death into account as of early last week, when he was described as being in critical condition. Goizueta, who was 65, died of lung cancer.

Its pretty clear that people were understanding that the worst could happen, he said.

Miami-based Latin Trade Magazine editor-in-chief Joachim Bamrud said Goizuetas death would not have a significant impact on Coca-Cola but some minor changes could occur within the company.

What this means is that there wont be a significant impact on business because they already have a good management team in place led by Doug Ivester, Bamrud said.

There are changes that could occur as every new management has its own agenda. But the reason why they wouldnt be radical is going by the old saying If it aint broke, dont fix it.

Goizueta, who left his native Cuba for Miami in 1961 following the Cuban Revolution with $40 and 100 Coca-Cola shares, lived the American dream of immigrants to the United States, Goldman said.

Hes a perfect example of that. Theres a real direction to the company ... he enhanced the corporate culture, and as a result the company knows where its going, Goldman added.

First Published: Mon, October 20 1997. 00:00 IST