Argentina

Alberto Grimoldi 

  • Grimoldi, S.A. (Clothing, Shoes, Retail)
Born Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1942. Universidad Catolica Argentina, 1965 (B.S.); President, Grimoldi S.A.
“It is instrumental to get the population at large to believe that future is going to be better than the present.”

 Full-length video (accessible to holders of a valid Harvard ID)

Transcript

Alberto Luis Grimoldi has been the president of Grimoldi, S.A. since 1988 and is the company’s chairman. Grimoldi S.A. is an apparel and footwear company that are distributed under brands including Hush Puppies, Timberland, Merrell, Caterpillar, North Face, and Patagonia. Grimoldi, S.A. is also a licensed manufacturer for North Face apparel. The company was founded in 1895 in Buenos Aires, Argentina by Italian brothers Alberto and Enrique Grimoldi (with the financial aid of their brother-in-law, Luis Grissetti). By 1901 the company was financially independent from Grissetti and renamed Grimoldi Hermanos. By 1930, Grimoldi S.A. had become one of the largest companies in Argentina and began opening brick-and-mortar retailers.

In this interview, Grimoldi describes his role in the company beginning in the early 1970s. He attempted to professionalize the company’s management but left in 1973 after disagreements with family members in the company. He discusses moving to Uruguay to escape political violence, but returned to Argentina in 1978 to be Secretary of Industry. Grimoldi returned to the company in 1980 and sought to modernize the company. He began implementing brands so that they could market to a wider audience, including women and children, no longer selling Grimoldi-branded shoes. Grimoldi discusses the business strategy when hyperinflation plagued Argentina’s economy in the 1990s, including tying the business’ assets to property and hard currency and requiring cash sales at retail locations. Grimoldi also discusses the company’s move towards e-commerce as a way to stay competitive in the future.

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Resources

  • María Inés Barbero, Grimoldi, 120 Años (Buenos Aires, Argentina: Grimoldi, S.A.), 2016.
  • Gustavo Carabajal, “Aprendí que el consumidor es el soberano,” La Prensa, November 10, 2014.
  • “Grimoldi,” Top Brands Argentina: 54-55, accessed July 21, 2016.
  • Bisang, Roberto, Fuchs Mariana, and Kosacoff Bernardo. "Internacionalización De Empresas Industriales Argentinas." Desarrollo Económico 32, no. 127 (1992): 323-56.
  • Grimoldi, Alberto. "Alberto Grimoldi: Innovación y tradición zapatera," 18:38, Posted January 4, 2016.
  • Video file of this interview available at Baker Library Historical Collections, histcollref+hbs.edu. Harvard ID holders can access the full-length video above.

  • Interview citation: "Interview with Alberto Grimoldi, interviewed by Gustavo Herrera, May 19, 2016, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/businesshistory/emerging-markets/."