Martin Named Interim U of M President

By Bill Dries

Brad Martin, the retired chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. and current chairman of the private investment firm RBM Venture Co., will be the interim president of the University of Memphis.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan appointed Martin to the position Tuesday, April 16. Morgan made the appointment the day after Shirley Raines announced her retirement as university president effective June 30.

Martin will begin working with her on April 25 for a transition into the interim role as the university and the Regents undertakes a search for Raines’ permanent successor.

Morgan set a goal of naming a new permanent president of the university by July 2014.

Martin is no stranger to the inner workings of the university. He served on Raines’ cabinet for the capital campaign tied to the university’s centennial that began last year and ends with Raines’ departure.

He has also chaired the school’s board of visitors as well as the University of Memphis Foundation Board of Trustees. Martin, a 1976 graduate of what was then Memphis State University, has also been a donor to the school.

Morgan was scheduled to be on campus Tuesday afternoon to talk with students about the coming leadership change and take questions from students, faculty and staff.

Raines is retiring after 12 years at the helm of the city’s largest institution of higher learning.

Before his on-campus talk, Morgan said Martin “will maintain the momentum at the University of Memphis while leading the institution through a time of important transition.”

“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 in a written statement.

Martin talked with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam while Haslam was in the city Saturday. He said Tuesday he has also talked with Morgan as well as Memphian Greg Duckett who is vice chairman of the Board of Regents.

In his first comments on the appointment, Martin said he hoped the Board of Regents would consider naming Raines as president emeritus of the university, a position in which she would be consulted about future plans at the university.