St. Paul Companies' Douglas Leatherdale dead at 79

Doug Leatherdale
Douglas Leatherdale in 2008 when he was appointed to serve as host committee chairman for the Republican National Convention.
Marisa Helms | MPR News 2008

Twin Cities philanthropist Douglas Leatherdale has died, according to a statement from Florida public relations firm Phelps Media Group.

Leatherdale was chairman and CEO of the St. Paul Companies from 1990 to 2001, before it merged with Travelers.

Former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman said Leatherdale played a major role in economic development efforts. Coleman said he was an important part of the effort to get Lawson Software to move downtown.

"If ever you needed leadership, if ever you needed something done, Doug Leatherdale was the guy who could make it happen," Coleman recalled.

Leatherdale was also a longtime board member and contributor to the Minnesota Orchestra, where president Kevin Smith says Leatherdale helped recruit music director Osmo Vanska.

"Doug really played a key personal role in that, for which he had a great deal of pride, and it was also the beginning of a longstanding friendship with Osmo," Smith said.

In May, Leatherdale contributed $5 million to the orchestra to help fund touring and recording.

Leatherdale died on Sunday, his 79th birthday. He is survived by his wife, Louise, a daughter, three sons and eight grandchildren.

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