Charles R. Shoemate earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1971. He joined BestFoods (formerly CPC International) as a supervisor in 1962, rising to become advisory director, chairman, and CEO. Industry watchers widely credited him with transforming the former corn products company into one that boasted a coveted collection of global brands. Having acquired more than 50 companies, many of them overseas, Shoemate established a presence for his company in nearly every one of the fastest growing international markets.
By the late 1990s, BestFoods had become one of the most sought after acquisition targets, and the industry was ripe with merger speculation. In 2000, in what was considered a major victory for BestFoods and Shoemate, Unilever acquired Bestfoods for $24.3 billion including assumed debt — one of the largest takeovers in the global food industry.
Shoemate served as a member of the Council on Chicago Booth from 1995 to 2001.