After joining A-B in 1976, he became one of the earliest proponents of moving the company's ads to cable TV and sports programming. He is also regarded as one of the architects of
A-B's sport-sponsorship dominance. In 1991, he left A-B for Coke, where he held a variety of sports- and media-related positions, including two stints as chief marketing officer. At Coke, he helped
develop the long-running "Always Coca-Cola" campaign, and was also instrumental in forging the hugely successful sponsorship deal with American Idol.
Fruit retired from Coke in 2005 and has served as an adviser to the company since. He is survived by his wife, Sharon.