Lance Clark, part of the Clarks family shoe business, died on Tuesday 27 February, at the age of 81.
Clark was in the sixth generation of the Clarks family and was the single largest shareholder of the business.
Clark was managing director of Clarks until he retired in 1994, but remained active in the industry, later buying footwear business Terra Plana and Edward Green.
Clark is also credited with creating the iconic Clarks Wallabee style in the 1960s.
Mike Shearwood, CEO of Clarks said: “Lance played a very significant role in Clarks throughout his career, most notably as managing director of Clarks. We have lost an immense character who will be forever prominent in our company’s history. All our thoughts and best wishes are with his family, and especially his wife, children and grandchildren, at this difficult time.”
Footwear veteran Ken Bartle, worked with Clark at Jones Bootmaker and described Clark as a “very good friend”.
“He was a very great man, far-sighted and an absolute gem for footwear. His knowledge was extremely good.
“The legacy he leaves the footwear industry is Clarks, firstly, and his eldest son Galahad [who runs Vivo Barefoot, which makes ultra-thin shoes that mimic skin].”
Richard Kottler, master of the Pattenmakers’ Company and former chief executive of the British Footwear Association, described Clark as a “complete one off”.
“He had immense knowledge of the footwear industry worldwide combined with an eye for finding the next opportunity. It was always in an unconventional way, such as [social enterprise] Soul of Africa.
“He was clearly hugely responsible for the amazing growth of Clarks in the late 20th and early 21st century.
He had colossal wisdom and he freely shared it. His enthusiasm and personality drew people to him. As I always say, the trade needs personalities.”
Martin Ingram, managing director footwear brand Josef Seibel, said Clark was: “An influencer not only in the UK but the international footwear market over many, many years. The end of an era, a true shoe man and a great loss to the shoe world.”