Fall 2010 Issue

Features: Very Distinguished

Distinguished Alumnus in Technology

Javier Polit MS ’90

As the chief information officer for the Bottling Investments Group of The Coca-Cola Company, Javier Polit spends much of his time traveling around the globe supporting more than 80,000 associates. In fact, throughout his career, Polit has conducted business in more than 40 countries on five continents.

All of which makes the words of his father, an engineer who designed several medical technologies used worldwide today, seem especially prophetic. “When I was in my adolescence, my father always talked to me about the pace of life and how it would continue to accelerate. …I think we all need to have a strategy for our own lives. It is essential to have a clear purpose in life and to make time for reflection - a few hours a month at a minimum to keep grounded,” he says.

I now believe in second and, in my case, third chances at life, and life is great. I wouldn't change a thing.

Today, inspiration is in no short supply in Polit’s life. He has been recognized as one of the top 100 Hispanic IT leaders in the country and was nominated as an inspirational leader by the The Coca-Cola Company during his battle with cancer. The company chose him to run the Olympic torch in New York ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece.

“I felt I represented a large community of survivors and represented hope for those that were still sitting in the chair (receiving chemotherapy),” says Polit, who plays guitar, races cars, and flies Cessna airplanes, when not busy spending time with his wife Gigi, daughter Isabella and family dog Kaiser.

Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Polit was vice president of global information technology at Office Depot, Inc., and served in the banking industry for 12 years. He has earned four master’s degrees, including a Master of Science in management information systems from Barry.

His vast international experience has fostered a solid commitment to women’s leadership initiatives. “I participate in many global programs to further develop women leaders and to further build workforce entry programs in emerging markets,” Polit says. “It is estimated that 870 million women who were living or contributing at a subsistence level will enter the workforce by 2020. ...It is about leveling the playing field and making sure women have a seat at the table.”

His dedication to this work, he adds, is reinforced every time he looks across the family dinner table. “One time I came home from a business trip and shared an 11 x 17 photo of my colleagues with my 5-year-old daughter. There were 12 of us in the photo and after a few seconds of looking at it, my daughter asks, ‘Papi, why is there only one girl in the picture?’ I said, ‘Isabella, you are right. There is only one girl, and it is not right, and Papi is working hard to change that.’ ”

The dash of life – velocity, purpose, legacy - words the native of Guayaquil, Ecuador, tries to live by: “I now believe in second and, in my case, third chances at life, and life is great. I wouldn’t change a thing.”