Thomas John BataThomas John Bata, shoe manufacturer (b at Prague, Austria-Hungary [Czech] 17 Sept 1914). Son of Thomas Bata, owner of the world's largest shoe manufacturing companies, he began his career as apprentice in his father's factory at Zlin, Czechoslovakia, in 1929. In 1935 he went to England as assistant general manager of British Bata Shoe Co. He came to Canada in 1939 and built a new plant at Batawa, Ontario. At that time the company was established in more than 30 countries.
In 1985 it manufactured in 61 countries, operated 92 plants and 6000 retail stores, and sold through 100 000 merchants in 115 countries. The company makes a million pairs of shoes a day. Bata himself is now chairman of Bata Ltd, an adviser for the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations, chairman of a number of international economic organizations and honorary governor of Trent University.