Terry Lundgren is much more than just the leader of an iconic retail brand like Macy’s. He is a man with an incredible and genuine passion for the emerging leaders of the retailing industry. That is not a fact that receives as much recognition but, in my humble opinion, will ultimately be his greatest gift to retailing.
As was reported yesterday by Macy’s and recounted throughout the business press, Terry Lundgren, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Macy’s, Inc., will be stepping down as CEO early next year. Undoubtedly, this news will and already has prompted a great deal of examination of his incredible tenure at the helm of a genuinely epochal brand. I will leave that discussion for others not because I don’t feel able to add to it but because I have been honored to have a brief yet different glimpse of his contributions to the industry.
An Investment into Our Students
As the director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona, I have had, over the past year, the distinct pleasure of seeing a side of Terry Lundgren that is not as often highlighted on the various business shows on television or within the many publications online and in print. That side of him is as a leader who has a genuine interest in lifting up the passionate retailing and consumer sciences students in our associated academic program at the university. For many years, he has personally given his time to our students in numerous ways. Before our annual Global Retailing Conference, he shares his insight about retailing and a career in the industry to a student-only gathering. It is extremely well attended by very enthusiastic and engaged students who walk away inspired by his words. He has also hosted a lunch and a series of afternoon presentations by several of the company’s merchandising and buying personnel during our annual study tour to New York City during the NRF Big Show. These are just two of the many gracious investments he makes for and in our students.
Through all of these activities, never once has there been hesitation in his offer or reluctance in his delivery. It has always been abundantly clear that this support was offered authentically and with great humility. One may scoff at that notion as only being a shallow sentiment but after having found my own passion, my true vocation as a teacher after a career in industry, I know that such sincerity can reside in someone regardless of where their career paths may have taken them.
Our Genuine Thanks to Terry Lundgren
I would like to write that the center for retailing that bears his name and the university from which he graduated has benefited greatly from his support. But, honestly, that minimizes the contribution he has made. It is far more appropriate to write that the many hundreds of students who have gone through this program have benefited in many obvious and tangible ways that will last for years and years to come. On behalf of all of these students, I wish to thank Terry for his commitment to and support of these amazing students.
I am the Director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona and the PetSmart Professor of Practice. I am very passionate about teaching, being a Dad, barbecue and chocolate – not necessarily in that order.