Brad Martin to serve as U of M interim president as campus prepares for national search

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan has named R. Brad Martin, a member of the university’s Board of Visitors and retired chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated, to serve as interim president of the University of Memphis effective July 1.

Martin will begin working with retiring U of M President Shirley Raines on April 25 and through the rest of her tenure to prepare for the role. Raines recently announced her retirement effective June 30 after leading the campus for 12 years.

“Mr. Martin will maintain the momentum at the University of Memphis while leading the institution through a time of important transition,” Morgan said. “He has deeply established connections to the campus and the community, as well as a sincere respect for the academic mission and a strong commitment to shared governance.

“Mr. Martin’s interim leadership will provide a new perspective to the university’s business operations and a broader view on the relationships with the local, regional and state economy,” Morgan added. “This is a unique opportunity that will serve the University of Memphis well.”

Martin, retired chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated, currently chairs his private investment firm RBM Venture Company. A graduate of the university in 1976, Martin served as Student Government President and as a member of the Student Ambassador Board. A generous donor and volunteer, he has chaired the Board of Visitors and the U of M Foundation Board of Trustees, received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and taught a U of M class in state and local politics. He currently serves as a University Athletic Ambassador and is a member of the Tiger Athletic Advisory Board and the Empowering the Dream Centennial Campaign cabinet.

Martin also earned an MBA degree from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He holds the distinction of being the youngest person elected to the Tennessee General Assembly, where he served five terms in the House of Representatives. Today he participates on a variety of corporate, civic and charitable boards, including FedEx, First Horizon National Corporation, Dillard’s, and Chesapeake Energy.

He is involved in a number of philanthropic and civic activities through the R. Brad Martin Family Foundation. His wife, Dina, is also a graduate of the University of Memphis.

“Dr. Raines’ 12-year tenure at The University of Memphis has been marked by significant advancements in its critical mission of teaching, research, and service,” emphasized Martin. “The U of M is fortunate to have in place a dedicated and talented faculty and staff and an enthusiastic and loyal alumni and friends. I look forward to working with them to maintain the outstanding momentum of this most important institution.

“In my conversations with Governor Haslam, Chancellor Morgan, and Vice Chairman Duckett of the TBR about this responsibility, it was clear to me of their strong commitment to the University of Memphis and its unique mission. I share that commitment and hope I can be helpful,” he added.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Raines during the transition period and am hopeful that the Board will consider naming her as president emeritus so she can continue to be available to serve the University in the days ahead.”

The search for the U of M’s next president will begin this summer with the expectation that a new leader will be in place before July 2014, Morgan said.

The Tennessee Board of Regents is among the nation’s largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 technology centers, providing programs across the state to more than 200,000 students.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.