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Arthur C. Martinez: 1939—: Businessman

Learned Value Of Money From Parents

Arthur C. Martinez was the only child of Arthur F. Martinez and Agnes Caulfield Martinez. He was born on September 25, 1939, in New York, New York. His mother was an Irish immigrant who worked part-time as a department store clerk. His father, who had some Spanish ancestry, worked as a fish wholesaler. Martinez was raised in Brooklyn and attended Catholic schools. He had a modest upbringing and learned important life lessons, especially the value of money, from his parents. "My mom and dad instilled in me their social convictions and a sense of community while I was still very young," Martinez told Janet L. McCoy of the Auburn University News in December of 1999.

As a teenager Martinez worked as a stock boy. He was a math prodigy who graduated from high school at the age of 16. He then attended the Polytechnic University and earned a B.S. in 1960. He financed his education with help from the ROTC. Upon graduation he served as a lieutenant in the army for two years. "I still think the army is the world's greatest diversity training ground," Martinez reminisced in his 2001 autobiography called The Hard Road to the Softer Side. "I was surrounded by soldiers of all races: whites, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans. There were straight arrows, drunks, geniuses, fools—every description you can think of."

At a Glance . . .

Born Arthur C. Martinez on September 25, 1939, in New York, NY; son of Arthur F. Martinez and Agnes Caulfield Martinez; married Elizabeth Rusch on July 30, 1966; two children. Education: Polytechnic University, BS, 1960; Harvard Business School, MBA, 1965. Military Service: U.S. Army, 1961-1963.

Career: Enjay Chemical, 1965-66; International Paper Company, director of planning, 1967-69; Talley Industries, assistant to president, 1969-70; RCA Corporation, director of finance, 1970-73, vice president, 1973-80; Saks Fifth Avenue, CFO, 1980-84, exec. vice president, 1984-87, vice chairman, 1990-92; BATUS, Inc, senior vice president and CEO, 1987-90; Sears Merchandise Group, CEO, 1992-95; Sears, Roebuck, and Co., CEO, 1995-00; author, 2001.

Selected memberships: Board of directors: Liz Clai-borne, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, National Urban League, and PepsiCo; chair: Chicago Urban League Business Advisory Council, Executives Club of Chicago, National Retail Federation board of directors; deputy chair, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Selected awards: International Quality of Life Award, Auburn University, 1999; Gold Medal for Excelling in Retail, National Retail Federation, 1998; Business Statesman of the Year, Harvard Business School, 1997; CEO of the Year Award, Financial World, 1996; honorary JD, University of Notre Dame, 1997.

In 1963 Martinez enrolled in the Harvard Business School and earned an M.B.A. in 1965. The lessons he learned at Harvard were vital to his later work experiences. In particular, Martinez recalled in his autobiography that the most important lesson was that "myopia is fatal. Think boldly about what business you are in, think carefully about what customers you are serving now and how you will meet the needs of the customers of the next generation." While in school Martinez and a friend also published a small magazine to support themselves. In 1966 Martinez married Elizabeth Rusch and the couple later had a son and a daughter together.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - PersonalArthur C. Martinez: 1939—: Businessman Biography - Learned Value Of Money From Parents, Gained Corporate Experience, Revamped Sears, Found The Softer Side Of Sears