Sam Ayoub, who played a pivotal role in Atlanta’s development as an international city, recently passed away on June 27 at the age of 78. He was a founding member and honorary chairman of the World Trade Club (now World Trade Center) and was instrumental in its move to One Peachtree Center. He was the first U.S. chairman of the Japan Southeast Association, and he served as chairman of the Japan America Society from 1981-83 and also received that organization’s Mike Mansfield Award in 1991 for his work toward the overall greater understanding of the two cultures. In 1986 he was elected chairman of the Southern Center for International Studies.

      He was also founding chairman of the Society of International Business Fellows, a member of the advisory boards of the Friendship Force and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy. He served as president of China/Tech, which was formed to help U.S. companies enter China’s market.

      Former Gov. George Busbee appointed Mr. Ayoub chairman of the board of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism from 1978-82. Mr. Busbee told GlobalFax that Mr. Ayoub was instrumental in bringing many international companies to Georgia. “He always had a view on everything and expressed this view and made a great contribution to the international growth of Georgia,” said Mr. Busbee.

      Ayoub retired as senior vice president and chief financial officer  for the Coca-Cola Company and then founded and served as chairman and CEO of Seaboard Management Corporation Inc., an international venture capital firm. A native of Egypt, Mr. Ayoub came to the U.S. with his wife Louisa in 1958, and graduated from Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y. where he received his BBA degree in finance. Mr. Ayoub was also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.

by Mark Pierson