has been involved in so many different fields — from retail to energy and from
publishing to politics and philanthropy — that you might be tempted to wonder
if there’s any kind of endeavor in which he hasn’t been involved.
In the 1970s,
he became the youngest person elected to the Tennessee House of
Representatives, serving five terms in the state legislature. He made a fortune
in real estate, then turned his attention to the retail sector. From 10 stores
in East Tennessee, Martin built a Fortune 500 company that owned Saks Inc.
(where he was chairman for more than two decades). During his tenure, the value
of the company’s stock increased more than twelvefold. He also co-founded
Corporate Child Care, a pioneering business that grew to become the largest
provider of employer-sponsored child care in the United States.
“retired” from Saks in 2007, but he hardly retired from business. He
established RBM Venture Company, a private investment firm focused on helping
well-established businesses grow into larger, more successful companies. He
also launched the Martin Family Foundation, which supports organizations
involved in healthcare services for the working poor, addiction recovery,
education, re-entry from incarceration and arts programming. In 2013-14, he
served as interim president for his alma mater, the University of Memphis.
is the non-executive Chairman of the Board of Chesapeake Energy, and serves on
the boards of FedEx and Pilot Oil / Flying J. He also has served on corporate
boards ranging from Dillard’s to Caesars Entertainment to lululemon athletica.
In his “spare
time,” Martin co-authored Five Stones: Conquering Your Challenges — a
book aimed at helping readers deal with the “Goliaths” they face in ministry,
work and life — along with a children’s book, Myles’ Pesky Friends.