Obituary: Dr Heinz-Horst Deichmann

Published:  10 October, 2014

Dr. Heinz-Horst Deichmann, founder of the shoe retailer chain carrying his name and deputy chairman of the board of Deichmann SE, passed away on Thursday, October 2, 2014, at the age of 88. After the Second World War the studied physician and theologian turned his parental shoemaker shop in Essen into an international shoe chain, which today is one of the market leaders in Europe.

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.            

Heinz-Horst Deichmann was born on September 30, 1926 in Essen. His father Heinrich Deichmann opened a shoemaker’s shop in 1913, which he ran with his wife Julie.

When Heinz-Horst Deichmann was 13 years old, his father died from a stroke at the age of 52. After the death of her husband, Heinz-Horst Deichmann’s mother Julie had to put the small business and her five children through the war years all by herself. After the war, Heinz-Horst helped his mother in the business and studied medicine and theology. During this time he also opened the first shoe stores in the German cities Essen, Düsseldorf and Oberhausen.

Today, Deichmann is represented in 23 countries in Europe, and in the USA, is the parent company to Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse. In 2013, the company sold a total of around 167 million pairs of shoes in its 3,500 worldwide stores and employs around 35,000 people. Heinrich Deichmann, son of Dr. Heinz-Horst Deichmann, joined the company in 1980 and has been its director since 1999 as chairman of the board.