Alberto Grimoldi
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.”

Summary

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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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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Video Clips by Topic

Branding

Alberto Grimoldi, President of the Argentina-based apparel and footwear company Grimoldi, describes improving the image of his company by removing the name "Grimoldi" from their products, and using new brand names which permitted successful market segmentation strategies. 



Inflation

Alberto Grimoldi, head of the Grimoldi Group, in Argentina, describes the ways the company successfully managed the era of hyperinflation beginning in 1989.



Corruption

Alberto Grimold, President of the Argentina-based apparel and footwear company Grimoldi, discusses the challenges of competing with the many companies in the informal economy which pay no tax, and explains how this impacts decisions to compete in channels such as shopping malls where it is harder to avoid tax.


Professionalization

Alberto Grimoldi, President of the Argentina-based apparel and footwear company Grimoldi, S.A., describes the massive deterioration of the business under family leadership and his successful efforts, in the mid-1980s, to regain control, and bring professional management to the firm.


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Additional Resources

Additional 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.
  • 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 Format

"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/creating-emerging-markets/."