Canadian industrialist Thomas Bata dies

Mon Sep 1, 2008 6:43pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Thomas Bata, the Czech-born industrialist who headed the global shoe empire bearing his family's name from the 1940s to the 1980s, has died in Toronto, aged 93, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported on Monday.

Bata, son of the privately owned company's founder, came to Canada to expand the family business, starting production in 1940. Later that decade, the company's headquarters were moved to Toronto under Bata's leadership when the family's Czech factories were nationalized by the communists.

The company returned to the Czech Republic in 1989 after the end of communist rule.

Thomas G. Bata, a grandson of the founder, became chairman in 2001.

A CBC series in 2001 said the Bata company had by then sold more than 14 billion pairs of shoes, greater than the number of pairs of feet that had walked the Earth.

Toronto is home to the Bata Shoe Museum, housing a collection of more than 10,000 shoes.

(Reporting by Ted Kerr; Editing by Peter Cooney)