Arthur Martinez serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Sears, Roebuck & Co., a position he has held since 1995. Before assuming his current role as head of the company, he was CEO of the merchandising group for three years.
Sears defines its mission as satisfying the needs of America’s middle class families with a responsibility to give back to the public it serves. For most of its 113-year history, Sears has provided considerable financial support to a host of social and educational not-for-profit organizations to demonstrate its commitment and show its appreciation to its consumers.
As chairman and CEO, Martinez is proud to follow in the footsteps of a host of socially conscious executives who preceded him at Sears. While all left their mark as humanitarians, Julius Rosenwald, an architect of the modern-day Sears, made a particularly indelible impression on Martinez. In 1971, Rosenwald established a fund to build rural schools for African-American children. Within 10 years, his personal contribution of $5 million had grown almost six-fold. Because of his foresight and generosity, more than 600,000 students were enrolled in 5,000 Rosenwald schools across the American South.
For his own part, Martinez is a well-respected civic leader who spends considerable time working with many organizations and causes. He is a trustee of Northwestern University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
As chairman of the Chicago Urban League’s Business Advisory Council, he recognizes the wealth of untapped talent within Chicago’s African-American community. In this capacity, his focus is squarely set on building bridges between this sector of society and the city’s business leaders–providing opportunities for employers and employees, alike. He is encouraged by his conviction that education is key to developing economic self-sufficiency.
Martinez’s public service and community outreach have achieved national attention. In 1994, he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. The honor also included the establishment of the Arthur C. and Elizabeth R. Martinez Fund for Childhood Asthma.
Arthur Martinez retired from Sears in 2000. His past service also included a term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago and a PepsiCo board member. Martinez is currently chairman of the board of HSN, Inc., and serves on the boards of directors of Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc. (formerly Liz Claiborne, Inc.), International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., and American International Group, Inc.