James P. Schadt
August 7, 1938 - February 3, 2021
James Philip Schadt (Jim), age 82, died peacefully at his home in Vero Beach, Florida, surrounded by his loving family. He resided in Westport, CT, New York, NY, and Vero Beach, FL. From humble beginnings to CEO of iconic consumer brands, Jim's life exemplified the American Dream.
Born August 7, 1938 in Saginaw, Michigan to Jean and Philip Schadt, Jim was a gifted student -athlete and the first of his family to attend college. Recruited to Northwestern University in 1956 on a swimming scholarship, it was there that he met and married Barbara Soldmann, his best friend and wife of 62 years.
Jim's career began in brand management at Procter & Gamble. Later, he and several P&G colleagues joined marketing powerhouse Glendenning Company, in Westport, CT as founding employees. After several years with Glendenning, Jim returned to corporate life where he advanced to general management roles with PepsiCo, Consolidated Foods and Electrolux.
In the 1980s, Jim became President and CEO of London-based Cadbury Schweppes Beverages where his performance resulted in his appointment as the first American to serve on the Board of Directors of Cadbury Schweppes.
From there he became President of The Reader's Digest Association and retired as CEO in the 1990's. He continued advising several corporate boards, and served as a Trustee of the American Enterprise Institute.
Jim is remembered as a creative leader and mentor who cared deeply for his colleagues. With "10 new ideas every day, he looked for people to challenge him." As one colleague put it, "Jim taught me how important it is to win, but to win in the right way. He had a great impact on my life."
Jim was a man of many passions. He was a life-long swimmer, self-taught musician, sailor, skier and patron of the arts. In gratitude for the many opportunities that Northwestern provided them, Jim and Barbara were active and generous alumni. Jim served on the Board of Trustees, and created a swimming scholarship for the University.
Of his many accomplishments, his personal relationships meant the most to him. Jim is survived by his wife Barbara, children Lauren Baker (Charlie) and Andrew Schadt (Kristen) and grandchildren, Charlie Baker (Christine), AJ Baker, Caroline Baker and William Schadt as well as his beloved brothers, Tom Schadt (Sharon Rietveld) and Jerry Schadt. His family and friends are the beneficiaries of his quick wit, devilish humor, sage advice and are blessed to have known this remarkable man.
In his later years, Jim battled Alzheimer's Disease. While it robbed him of many things, he never lost his good humor and loving spirit.
A Celebration of Life service will be held in Connecticut at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer's Association
or The James P. and Barbara Schadt Swimming Scholarship at Northwestern University.