Full name: Robert Bagley Foster
Born: February 22, 1891 in Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: August 25, 1960 in Westminster, Greater London, Great Britain
Affiliations: Illinois AC, Chicago (USA) / Mercersburg Academy, Lancaster (USA)
Country: United States
Robert Foster was a 17-year-old student at Mercersburg Academy when he competed in the 1908 Olympic swimming events. In 1912 he returned to London to start a mop business, and in 1914 he opened the London branch of the Palmolive Company, for whom he was responsible for British advertising. He lived in London for almost 50 years, and at his death The Times of London described him as “the dean of the American business colony in London.” He served in World War I, fighting in France, and in World War II was a member of the American Home Guard in London as a trooper. Foster became a high-level golfer and was a member of Sunningdale Golf Club. He also became close friends with the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor.
Foster's son, David Foster, became a decorated war hero during World War II, serving Great Britain as a fighter pilot and commander of 849 Naval Air Squadron. He joined his father working for Palmolive, later Colgate-Palmolive, and became quite successful with that company, becoming President and CEO of Colgate-Palmolive in 1970 and Chairman of the Board in 1975, before retiring in 1979. His first wife was the well-known Welsh actress, Glynis Johns.
|1908 Summer||17||London||Swimming||Men's 100 metres Freestyle||United States||USA||AC h4 r1/3|