Company Perspectives: Shoemaking is one of the world's oldest crafts--shoes have been works of art and the

stuff of legends. Around the world, the Bata brand is reserved for well-made and well-priced dress and casual footwear. We're devoted to designing, producing, and providing our customers with the best in commercial fashion footwear for the whole family.

Key Dates: 1894: The Bata family establishes a company in Zlin, located in what is now the Czech Republic. 1932: Founder Tomas Bata dies in an airplane accident. 1939: The company relocates to Canada after the movement of German military forces into Eastern Europe. 1945: Czechoslovakia business operations are nationalized by the new communist government following World War II. 1991: Bata returns to the Czech Republic following fall of the communist regime. 1994: Thomas J. Bata, the son of the company's founder, retires. 2001: Thomas J. Bata, Jr., becomes chairman and CEO.

Company History: Bata Ltd. is a privately owned global shoe manufacturer and retailer headquartered in Ontario, Canada. The company is led by a third generation of the Bata family. With operations in 68 countries, Bata is organized into four business units. Bata Canada, based in Toronto, serves the Canadian market with 250 stores. Based in Paris, Bata Europe serves the European market with 500 stores. With supervision located in Singapore, Bata International boasts 3,000 stores to serve markets in Africa, the Pacific, and Asia, Finally, Bata Latin America, operating out of Mexico City, sells footwear throughout Latin America. All told, Bata owns more than 4,700 retail stores and 46 production facilities. Total employment for the company exceeds 50,000. Company Founded in 1894 The Bata family's ties to shoemaking span more than two dozen generations and purportedly date as far back as 1580 to the small Czech village of Zlin. However, it was not until 1894 that the family began to make the transition from cobblers to industrialists. In that year, Tomas G. Bata, Sr., along with his brother Antonin and sister Anna, took 800 florins, some $350, inherited from their mother and launched a shoemaking business. They rented a pair of rooms, acquired two sewing machines on an installment plan, and paid for their leather and other materials with promissory notes. They produced stitched, coarse-woolen footwear. Within a year, the business was successful enough to enable the Batas to employ ten people in their factory, such as it was, as well as another forty who worked out of their own homes. In the same year, 1895, Antonin was drafted into the military and Anna quit the business to get married, forcing Tomas to assume complete control of the venture. He was just 19 years old.

leading to significant unemployment. From the waste of these items. He also took steps to identify management talent among the ranks of his workers and instituted a training program that was ahead of its time. installing steam-driven machines. Before the company could enjoy this strong period of growth. area merchants raised prices. World War I Boot Contract a Turning Point Bata received a major boost in 1914. In answer. he also took time to visit English and German factories. a cutback in production. more unemployment. and even less consumer demand--developments that together threatened national economic devastation. he called on the industrialists to take decisive steps to stimulate market demand. Tomas Bata did not simply throw up his hands and blame the government. Unlike the others. The Bata shoe business began to experience steady growth. not only by applying the latest production techniques--which would one day earned him the moniker. In the years immediately following the end of World War I in 1918. In 1904. Upon his return home. so that the business was well positioned to take advantage of the economic boom of the 1920s. On his way back to Zlin. the company produced the uppers to a wooden shoe that it sold to the lower classes. linen footwear that appealed to a large portion of the population. Tomas Bata opened his own lessexpensive company stores to ensure that his employees were able to enjoy the fruits of their success. The company enjoyed success producing light. Tomas Bata then invested the profits in new machinery. a group of industrialists met to discuss their plight. Once the surprise of the moment wore off. who could not afford better-made leather shoes. by adopting tight monetary controls. so that by 1912 it was employing 600 full-time workers plus another few hundred who worked out of their homes in neighboring villages. Tomas Bata and his employees were forced to take a major gamble together. However. which had already devastated Germany. Bata's audience simply laughed at him. Bata moved the operation to a new building located close to Zlin's railway station and took the first major step in industrialization. which he rented at cost. Because there was a shortage of housing in Zlin for his new workers. Czechoslovakia. however. In August 1922. Nevertheless. Instead. formed as part of the peace settlement of World War I. as well as in the opening of new retail shops. . which all too often changed dramatically during the transition from an artisan to an industrial approach to commerce. as soon as they began to earn higher incomes. the social idealist. Bata came close to bankruptcy on more than one occasion and concluded that in order for his business to survive he needed to find more efficient ways to manufacture and distribute shoes. an economic slump prevailed across the globe. He also offered inexpensive meals in factory cafeterias and free medical care. he and three employees took a trip to the United States to learn firsthand the ways of mass production. "the Henry Ford of the shoe industry"--but also by finding a way to preserve the role of workers. following the outbreak of World War I. Bata began to transform the family shoe business.In 1900. Bata spent six months working as a laborer on a shoe assembly line in New England. the country's currency lost three-quarters of its value. attempted to fight inflation. As a result. He even built a new hospital to care for his workers. he constructed new homes. when the company received a contract to produce boots for the Austro-Hungarian army. Tomas Bata now began to exhibit another side to his personality. which in turn led to a drop in demand for products. and he shocked everyone by announcing that he was going to cut the price of Bata shoes in half.

by 1932 they had seen their salaries doubled. which had been virtually empty for months. as Bata stores. however. to establish a manufacturing operation. leatherwork. shoemaking machinery. he then launched a national advertising campaign. as Bata became the world's largest exporter of shoes. With his operations lean and efficient. productivity improved 15-fold. Bata. Bata was forced to increase production. clothing. improving on productivity primarily through the introduction of an assembly line approach. in turn. Bata was able to confer. and keep an eye on. After accepting a severe wage cut in 1922. and it soon evolved into a full-fledged enterprise that produced some of the earliest animated films. Just two days later. chemicals used in leather making. Bata established operations in new markets. Tomas Bata even became involved in the manufacture of airplanes through the Zlin Air Company." Moreover. The response from consumers was swift and dramatic. such as Singapore in 1930. The decision to cut prices proved to be a turning point in the history of the company. that would work. whom he had groomed since childhood to one day head the business. tires and other rubber goods. Bata became involved in a variety of other industries. The company launched its own film studio to produced advertising materials. Tomas Bata. to convince his workers that he had a plan. including the creation of individual profit centers and incentive payments to both management and workers to spur productivity. In mid-1932. Thomas J. to which the company was already exporting shoes. Tomas Bata continued to innovate. in particular North America. were now swamped with customers looking for inexpensive shoes. He believed that the company had to cut costs to the bone and work at peak efficiency in order to halve the price of Bata shoes. accepted a 40 percent reduction in wages across the board. including socks. which produced both sporting and business planes. in fact. provided food. the retail price of Bata shoes dropped by 82 percent. also established subsidiaries and shoe factories in a number of European countries as a way to circumvent tariffs that had been imposed in response to a worldwide economic depression. Because of the company's involvement in transportation. which featured an elevator that housed his "floating office. Workers. After five years. The company. wooden packing crates. and other necessities at half-price to mitigate the loss of wages." With a push of a button. after ten. He was 56 years old. The employees' faith in Tomas Bata was also rewarded. While most . but in the meantime Bata's half-brother Jan took over and continued the mentoring process. however. It was Thomas Bata who was to be dispatched to North America. it began to hire. Bata left a 22-year-old son. which now grew at a tremendous pace. ignoring their union leadership. which in 1931 adopted a joint stock company form of organization. According to company lore. and not only did the company maintain full employment. He also became famous for housing his headquarters in the tallest reinforced concrete office building in Europe. Tomas Bata called together his team of executives and announced that in order for the company to weather increasingly difficult economic conditions and drive further growth. he introduced measures that were pioneering. albeit a radical one. In addition. his employees on every floor without leaving his desk. Tomas Bata was killed when an airplane he was in took off in a thick fog and crashed into a chimney of one of his buildings.Bata was able. in some developing countries "bata" gained currency where there was no word for "shoe. They were now working for the largest shoemaker in the world. they would have to look to more distant markets.

one that was not part of the old Bata operation. The return of Bata operations lost to the Nazis was short lived after World War II. primarily in the new markets of developing countries. Jan Bata moved his headquarters to the United States. as the company now made plans to relocate its headquarters to the West. (Even Zlin's name was changed. taking over a former Canadian Paper Company mill while a new factory was built. taking on an almost missionary zeal in the process.000 independent retailers. but the contest continued to be played out in the courts of numerous countries until the end of 1966. the manufacture of shoes began to shift increasingly to Pacific Rim countries. Now based in the West. also nationalized their shoe industries. as it was called. nor did Bata wish to be encumbered with facilities that the communists had neglected for more than 40 years. a tribute to the country's first communist president. The Bata Shoe Organization. To aid in the Allied war effort.) Bata was further stripped of assets as other countries. but it too suffered from a softening in its business. Thirty years later. the communist government installed in Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union had nationalized the country's industry. he started up operations in Frankford. resulting in an eventual contest for management control and ownership. With its widely cast operations and well-established distribution network. with Germany on the verge of invading his country. which has been combined with other Czech shoe operations. Thomas Bata married an aspiring architect named Sonja. With the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Bata was operating 56 factories in 46 countries. the company focused its personnel and equipment on the production of anti-aircraft equipment and machines used to inspect ammunition. In 1945. including East Germany. where lower labor costs provided a competitive edge that proved devastating to shoe companies around the world. but when blacklisted by the Allies he was forced to relocate to Brazil. Bata was better able to compete. In March 1939. Bata and its many Czechoslovakian expatriates began to rebuild the business. Thomas Bata essentially prevailed in 1949. selling close to $2 billion worth of footwear each year through 6. Thomas Bata was committed to establishing a business in his native country. By the mid-1950s. A small factory established by the . the young Bata was fixated on locating the business in Canada. After some study.000 company-owned stores and 120. becoming known as Gottwaldov. Also following the war. the management team elected to focus on a retail distribution business and a modest manufacturing facility. Rather than organizing in a centralized manner. was now split between uncle and nephew. After being granted permission from the Canadian government. Poland. With the fall of communism in the late 1980s. the importance of organizing a North American operation took on increasing importance. Bata was able to return to the country where the family business was founded. The company was not able to resume ownership of its prior assets.executives in the organization lobbied for the United States as the location for a plant. Bata Shoes Returns to the Czech Republic in 1991 In the 1970s and 1980s. For his part. usurping the original Bata shoe factory in Zlin and the company's far-flung network of shops. Nevertheless. Thomas Bata fled to Canada along with 180 Czechoslovakians. a woman who would play an influential role in the success of the company. Ontario. supplementing her husband's manufacturing and sales expertise with a sense of design and style. and Yugoslavia. a place he had romanticized since childhood after reading the works of Jack London. Bata was in 115 countries. the company established a structure based on autonomous operations.

had been serving as president since 1985. Principal Subsidiaries: Bata Canada. Pantelidis's background was in retail gasoline sales. Thomas Bata. Jr. returned. and during his career he had worked for one of Canada's largest chains. Pantelidis instituted a plan to develop regional shoe lines. Bata Latin America. The tenure of Pantelidis lasted just two years. In addition. took over as president and CEO to assume the day-to-day running of the business. According to The Globe and Mail. he wanted to create economies of scale by building regional infrastructures." He was widely expected to succeed his father. Bata brought in Jim Pantelidis." Bata began to reorganize the company. Heath resigned for "personal and family reasons. Petro-Canada Corporation. but the post proved to be far from ceremonial. as opposed to lines created for individual countries.communist regime was found acceptable. while the younger Bata assumed the chairmanship. Payless ShoeSource. as he continued to be involved in the company's operations on a day-to-day basis and was not reticent about letting management know his opinions.. "took over at a time when the international shoe maker was experiencing heightened competition from strong global marketers. an executive who had no experience in the shoe industry.. Principal Competitors: Footstar. essentially running the business out of Switzerland. which would total a 20 percent market share. . Jr. a Canadian with considerable executive experience with RJR Nabisco. and presented the government with a joint venture proposal that was accepted in late 1991. Jimlar Corporation. Mr. The movement toward free trade challenged its network of quasi-autonomous national companies. but to the surprise of many. In late 2001. Thomas Bata. was slated to become honorary chairman. Inc. His son." He soon left the family business and moved to Switzerland. Bata International. The goal was to use the regional infrastructures to position the Bata brand on a global basis. at the age of 80. It remained to be seen if he would be able to succeed where outsiders had failed in the effort to transform Bata from a federation of stand-alone local subsidiaries into a truly international company. Jr. and the company then selected a number of retail locations. with a reputation as an autocrat. Thomas Bata. Stanley Heath. but insiders says he lost the support of key members of the board. elected to retire in 1994. In 1999. ostensibly charged with focusing on the "big picture. and was named chairman and CEO. to assume the CEO position. Inc. His father. Rino Rizzo. Bata Europe." Taking over for Heath was a loyal company man. Thomas. gained control of the business. who had been with the Bata organization since 1969. while Pantelidis left to "pursue other challenges. Bata tried to make changes. Little more than a year after coming to Bata.