Robert Marder, known for developing the footwear trade from Brazil to the U.S., died on Jan. 2 in Newburyport, Mass., after fighting ALS. He was 76.
Following in his father Lewis Marder’s footsteps, he started his career at Klevin Shoe Co. after serving in the Korean War. In the mid-1960s he took a post as an executive at Pittsfield Shoe Co., diving into the market in Brazil. In 1973, Marder went on to found a shoe importing company, Bob Mauricio Inc., co-founded with Mauricio Schmidt. The company worked to beat European prices, at a time when others were turning to Italy and Spain for footwear, and focused on importing fashionable women’s footwear from Brazil to the States. Marder eventually sold BMI to Mitsubishi, but continued to produce women’s apparel for the European market.
BBC International CEO Bob Campbell remembered Marder for his quiet demeanor and powerful impact on the industry.
“If you knew him well like I did, he had extreme talent, he was 100 percent into his business and 100 percent into his work,” said Campbell. “He loved it; he loved the shoe business.”
Donations in Marder’s name can be made to The Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, Mass.