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Footwear entrepreneur Heinz-Horst Deichmann dies at age of 88

Oct 9, 2014
Footwear entrepreneur Heinz-Horst Deichmann dies at age of 88
The founder of the shoe retailer chain carrying his name and deputy chairman of the board of DEICHMANN SE passed away last week

Heinz-Horst Deichmann was born in 1926 in Essen, Germany. His father Heinrich Deichmann opened a shoemaker’s shop in 1913, which he ran with his wife Julie.  After the Second World War Heinz-Horst studied physician and given the choice to earn his living as an orthopedic surgeon or shoe dealer, the entrepreneur’s gene prevailed. His idea to offer customers fashionable shoes in good quality at a reasonable price was welcomed in Germany during the consolidation years after the war. DEICHMANN expanded and he turned his parental shoemaker shop in Essen into an international shoe chain, which today is a market leader in Europe. In 1963, on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary, there were already 16 DEICHMANN stores. The company opened its 100th store in 1975 and the 1000th German store was opened in 2006. The international expansion was pursued at the same time.

His son Heinrich Deichmann (52) (bearing the same name as his grandfather) has been chairman of the board since 1999. The company has been in the family’s ownership for three generations. Today, DEICHMANN is represented in 23 countries in Europe and in the US. In 2013, the company sold a total of around 167 million pairs of shoes in its 3 500 stores employing roughly 35 000 people.

Heinz-Horst Deichmann has received numerous awards and honors for his entrepreneurial and social commitment, including the Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia, the price of German Retailers for lifetime achievement, the Luther-Rose of the International Martin Luther Foundation and most recently the Karl Barth prize in September. 

Image credits: Michael Sohn/AP

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