Thomas John Bata (Thomas John Bata)

Thomas John Bata

Entrepreneur,  Philanthropist. He was widely called the “Shoemaker to the World”. He built Bata Shoe Organization into one of the world’s largest family-run businesses and a leading footwear manufacturer and retailer with operations in 50 countries. Born in Praha, Czechoslovakia he was a tenth generation cobbler and apprenticed under his father Tomas, who co-founded the company in 1894. At age 17, upon his father’s death, Tom left the business to continue his education in Czechoslovakia, England and Switzerland. In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, Tom and some 100 families moved from Czechoslovakia to Ontario, Canada. Tom started The Bata Shoe Company of Canada which operated a factory in its own town named Batawa.   After serving in WWII with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, Tom set to rebuilding the international Bata Shoe empire. Despite the loss of many factories, destroyed during the war or nationalized by communist governments in Europe, Bata expanded across five continents.  After the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Tom returned to a hero’s welcome in Prague in 1989.  Under his leadership, in the 1990s Bata was the world’s largest footwear company with annual sales of 300 million pairs of shoes.  He and his wife Sonja (founder of The Bata Shoe Museum) were generous mentors, involved in numerous business, educational, charitable and cultural organizations.  Among his many honors, Thomas Bata was invested a Companion of the Order of Canada, received the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk in Czech Republic, received the first Lifetime Award for Responsible Capitalism in the United Kingdom, and held several honorary doctorate degrees. (bio by: Milou)  Family links:  Parents:  Tomáš Bata (1876 – 1932)


  • September, 17, 1914
  • Republic


  • September, 09, 2008
  • Canada


  • Mount Pleasant Cemetery
  • Ontario
  • Canada

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