Reitmans CEO Jeremy Reitman dies

Jeremy Reitman, left, is seen with his brother Stephen Reitman. (Reitmans photo)

Jeremy Reitman, the head of the eponymous Montreal-based women’s wear retail chain founded by his grandparents, is being remembered as an astute businessman and a man filled with joie de vivre.

He, like his family, was a major supporter of Jewish and Israel-related causes.

Reitman, the chairman and chief executive officer of Reitmans (Canada) Limited, died peacefully in Florida on Dec. 28. In a brief announcement the following day, the company stated that “the board of directors, management team and employees of the company extend their deepest sympathies to the Reitman family.” He was 72.

Among the many condolences posted on the website of Paperman & Sons, where Reitman’s funeral will be held on Jan. 2, Jane and Larry Plotnick wrote: “Jeremy was such a special person. Always a smile. Always a joke and story to tell. Always the patriarch. Always a business and community leader. And, perhaps most importantly, always a mensch.

“We are certain that Jeremy, with all his colourful ways, will live on in the hearts of everyone who knew him.”

Alvin Segal, the chairman and CEO of Peerless Clothing Inc., stated that, “Jeremy lived his life the way he wanted. He had a lot of friends, but I think he and I had a special friendship. He will be missed.”

According to the obituary notice, Reitman, the son of the late Betty and Jack Reitman, was an alumnus of Dartmouth College and the McGill University law school. He was a former board member of McGill, the Bank of Montreal and Provigo. He was also “a passionate golfer, skier, Moishe’s regular, toastmaster and philatelist.”

He is survived by his brother Stephen, Reitmans’ president and COO, sister Sarah Rubin, partner Penelope Rudnikoff, children Alexandra and Daniel, along with two stepchildren and two grandchildren.

The family has requested that donations in his memory be made to the Jack Reitman Hillel House c/o Federation CJA.

Reitmans operates 587 stores throughout Canada, including under the brand names Penningtons, RW & Co., Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity.

The company was founded in Montreal by his grandparents, Herman and Sarah Reitman, in 1926 and continues to be controlled by the family. Jeremy Reitman became chairman in 2010, after previously serving as its president. He is credited in business circles with seeing the company through the upheaval experienced in the retail industry over the past decade, particularly in the apparel sector, due to the rise of online shopping and stiff U.S. competition.