Ruben Rodriguez, Bacardi CEO Who Mixed In Vodka, Dies at 79

  • He led world's biggest rum-maker in acquisition of Grey Goose
  • Rodriguez was born in Havana and retired to Connecticut

Ruben Rodriguez Source: Business Wire

Ruben Rodriguez, the retired Bacardi Ltd. chief executive officer who led the rum maker in its 2004 purchase of Grey Goose superpremium vodka, has died. He was 79.

He died May 5 in Darien, Connecticut, according to an e-mail from Amy Federman, spokeswoman for the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company. No cause was given.

In 2000, Rodriguez was named chairman and CEO of Bacardi, the world’s biggest distiller of rum and largest closely held spirits maker. He served as chairman for five years and as chief until 2003 and again from 2004 to 2005.

Rodriguez oversaw the acquisition of Grey Goose, the top-selling superpremium vodka in the U.S., from Sidney Frank Importing Co. The transaction was valued at more than $2 billion, according to accounts at the time by the Wall Street Journal.

He moved to Connecticut following his retirement.

In fiscal 2014, Bacardi had $4.47 billion of sales less excise taxes,
according to a company report. The distiller employed about 6,000 workers in 29 facilities across 16 countries, including the U.S., Scotland, Italy, France, Germany and Mexico. The company also makes Dewar’s blended Scotch whiskey, Bombay Sapphire gin and Martini vermouth. Bacardi was founded in Santiago, Cuba, in 1862.

Rodriguez was born April 27, 1937, in Havana, according to the spokeswoman. He attended La Salle School in Havana and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston, according to a statement on the company’s website. He became a certified public accountant and a certified internal auditor.

Before joining Bacardi, Rodriguez worked for Chesebrough-Ponds Inc. in Latin America, Europe and the Far East, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Australia, Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand.

Survivors include his wife, Grace Pujals, and daughters, Grace and Susan, according to the spokeswoman.

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