Edit ModuleShow Tags

Bright Idea

Building a business is one thing. Building an entire billion-dollar industry is another. Meet Bob Goergen, an entrepreneur who burns the candle at both ends



(page 1 of 3)

Even among entrepreneurs famous for improvising their pathways to success, Greenwich’s Robert Goergen stands out for the diverse milestones along his journey.

In the 1960s, as a young account executive at McCann Erickson, he pushed Coca-Cola to embrace pop music by signing the Supremes to sing the soda’s praises. In the 1990s, as a seasoned venture capitalist, he transformed a tiny candle company run out of a Red Hook warehouse into a billion-dollar business, Blyth, Inc. Today, he’s a guru of direct sales, urging entrepreneurs to seek their fortunes outside corporate structures.

This month he is being honored by Greenwich Library with the prestigious Peterson Business Award (former recipients include PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Bloomberg CEO Peter Grauer), recognizing both his market vision and charitable work.

It’s been a momentous journey for a boy who grew up poor and fatherless in upstate New York. Goergen, today a hale-looking man with a gentle gaze and an infectious grin, credits “a crazy work ethic” with getting him where he is.

“If you’ve got something you need to do, you do it,” Goergen explains. “As an entrepreneur, you set your own goals. I told someone, ‘I can’t complain, I wrote the job description.’”

Goergen’s job description at present is not easily summarized. At Blyth, the company that bears his middle name, Goergen last November passed on the CEO reins to his son Rob; he remains company chairman. His other child, Todd, manages the Ropart Group, a family investment vehicle Goergen also oversees. Much time is devoted to two outside passions: art (he and his wife of forty-five years, Pam, are both collectors and patrons) and philanthropy. (A family operation, the Goergen Foundation raises funds for charity.)

In a small conference room adjoining his corner office on East Weaver Street, expansion plans for the Bruce Museum cover an oval table. Goergen’s ambitions for the Bruce, which he and Pam have actively supported for over a decade, include galleries large enough for exhibits like the one the Goergens helped develop last fall around a favorite artist of theirs, Chuck Close.

“He does mostly portraits, in a very unique way,” Goergen observes. “He’s dyslectic, he’s got face blindness. And so he has come up with a very unique way of doing portraits. He’s world-renowned. He’s unique to overcome those handicaps.”

One can’t help but wonder if Goergen relates to Close because of his own disadvantaged upbringing. “I’m not that great a psychologist,” Goergen replies. “As I look back, I’ve always been something of a leader. I didn’t know what leadership meant when I was in the third grade, right? But even the teachers made me the school crossing guard, stuff like that. Given the circumstances, you either overcome them or get sunk by them.”

There’s no big desk here; he dislikes them. Instead, a small upright table with orderly sheaves of paper stands against one of the walls; the man prefers to work on his feet.

Bronze sculptures of a ballerina and a tennis player catch the eye, as does a poster of a sweaty woman on a locker-room bench under the simple legend, “There is no finish line.” A surrealist painting shows a man climbing a ladder into the clouds. Around him others in business suits sit on chairs, apparently oblivious to his ascent.

A statement on Goergen’s own rise?

He shrugs. He just likes the painting, he explains.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

 

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Greenwich Agenda

  • 6th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop

    2014.11.28

    Santa and his LIVE reindeer - Dancer, Dasher, Prancer and Blitzen, are coming back to town for the 6th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival &...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    "IN FOCUS" OPENING RECEPTION -  Thursday October 30, 2014 6-8pm. "IN FOCUS"features seven artists' visions in...

  • Antarctica: Photographs by Diane Tuft

    2014.10.28
     @ Bruce Museum

    October 28, 2014 - February 1, 2015 Selections from Gondwana, Images of an Ancient Land Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT...

  • The Best of 2014: Cecile Chong, David, Ruth Hiller, David Licata, Loanne Mattera, Jill Parisi, Kristen Thiele

    2014.11.08
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY I Dates: November 8 – December 22, 2014     Opening Reception: November 8, 6:30 – 8:00 PM Public Invited THE BEST OF 2014:  Cecile...

  • Exhibition: Northern Baroque Splendor

    2014.09.20
     @ Bruce Museum

    Northern Baroque Splendor. The HOHENBUCHAU COLLECTION from: LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vienna September 20, 2014 - April 12, 2015...

  • Exhibition: Native American Pottery from the Bruce Museum Collection

    2014.11.22
     @ Bruce Museum

      Generously underwritten by Gabelli Funds and The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund Over the years, the Bruce Museum has...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Christmas Tree and Wreath Sale for Charity

    2014.11.29
     @ First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    O, Christmas Tree; O Christmas Tree Buy your tree and help those in need this Christmas! It’s time for the annual Christmas Tree and...

  • "Paper & Stone" an exhibition by Ellen Gordon & Sary Backer at the Loft Artists Gallery

    2014.11.01
     @ Loft Artists Gallery

    Paper and Stone” An exhibition by Sary Backer & Ellen Gordon November 1 - November 30th Artists’ reception: November 8th from 4 – 6 PM...

  • Family Gallery Tours

    2014.10.26
     @ Bruce Museum

    Designed for children ages 6-10 and their families, these tours will provide an interactive, discussion-based tour of the museum’s current...

  • Tuesday Toddler Tours

    2014.11.04
     @ Bruce Museum

    Children ages 3-5 and their adult caregivers are encouraged to come explore the Museum’s collections and exhibitions through picture books...

  • Greenwich Gives

    2014.12.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue

    Looking for a fun way to complete your holiday shopping and give back to your community?    On December 2, 2014, local non-profits...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Holiday Gift Boutique

    2014.12.02
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    More than 40 skilled artisans, designers, and purveyors of finely crafted goods and provisions will showcase their wares at the Breast Cancer...

  • Holiday WOW At Your Front Door!

    2014.12.02
     @ Garden Education Center of Greenwich

    Beautify your entrance way with luscious holiday evergreens, berries, pinecones and more, sure to last throughout the dreary winter...

  • Exercise as Treatment for Chronic Pain

    2014.12.02
     @ Noble Conference Room Greenwich Hospital

    Presented by Greenwich Hospital and Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists Exercise as Treatment for Chronic Pain Tuesday, 12/2/14 at...

  • Israeli Film Series | Bethlehem

    2014.12.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us throughout the year for award-winning films direct from Israel that will show you Israel through the lens of a movie camera. Following each...

  • Holiday Della Robbia Wreath

    2014.12.03
     @ Garden Education Center of Greenwich

    Create a lavishly decorated live wreath for your home this holiday season with Maureen FitzPatrick. Using a variety of real...

  • Picture This with Authors Lisa Barr & Gabrielle Selz

    2014.12.03
     @ The Drawing Room

    Authors Lisa Barr & Gabrielle Selz Bring Their Stories of Passion, Chaos & Intrigue from the World of Modern Art to Greenwich...

  • Holiday Tea

    2014.12.04
     @ Garden Education Center of Greenwich

    Back by popular demand!  An elegant multigenerational holiday tea party featuring a delightful afternoon tea, delicacies and a gift...


Show More...
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular Articles

  1. Watch Your Back, Lulu
    YOGASMOGA’s got a new active wear line that’s coming in hot
  2. BCA Annual Luncheon + Fashion Show
    Hyatt Regency Greenwich
  3. Greenwich Restaurant Week Opening Night Kick-off Party
    Miller Motorcars
  4. AmeriCares Airlift Benefit
    Westchester County Airport
  5. Antiquarius Patron Party 2014
    The home of Suzanne and Ramsey Frank