International Marketing Expert to Head UA Lundgren Center

Martha Van Gelder, who has academic ties to Arizona, brings more than two decades of experience in leading companies with global brand names.
Nov. 3, 2011
Martha Van Gelder, the newly appointed director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the UA.
Martha Van Gelder, the newly appointed director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the UA.

The University of Arizona has appointed Martha S. Van Gelder as the new director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing and the PetSmart Professor of Practice, an endowed chair in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Norton School is part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Van Gelder brings to the UA more than 20 years of high-level leadership in business growth and development for several companies with a global reach.

Terry Lundgren, CEO at Macy's, Inc. and an alumnus and major supporter of the UA, welcomed Van Gelder's appointment to lead the center.

"With her strong experience in business analysis and strategic planning, Ms. Van Gelder has the potential to be an excellent collaborator with all of our constituents, including students, professors, staff and sponsors, and an important voice in the future of the Lundgren Center."

Soyeon Shim, director of the Norton School, said, "The Terry J. Lundgren Center is well poised to advance to a global level, and Martha brings a tremendous amount of global experiences and strategic capabilities to meet our new challenges."

Shim formed a search committee in July to identify candidates nationally to fill the position previously held by Melinda Burke. Burke left the Lundgren Center after 18 years to become executive director of the UA Alumni Association.

Van Gelder met with the Lundgren Center's Executive Corporate Board in October.

"She was highly recommended by the board based largely on her extensive experience in global business, marketing and distribution and her proven track record of working with the often disparate worlds of non-profits, the private sector and academia," said Neil Stacey, a search committee member and the senior vice president at PetSmart, Inc.

Said Van Gelder: "I am so excited by the opportunity to bring new perspective to this nationally known center and help to advance it to the next level. I am particularly impressed with the students and their hunger for new information and ideas, and I look forward to sharing with them what I've learned from my experience and relationships."

Van Gelder, who earned her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz., has a resume that includes:

  • Managing director and vice president of international business for Gaiam, Inc., a health and fitness brand for which she created a new international sales division and expanded the company into 20 new countries.
  • Executive vice president of  international business development for Sesame Workshop, working to align the mission and revenue goals in international markets for the company best known for the television program Sesame Street.
  • Executive director of licensed territories for The Walt Disney Company in charge of expansion for home entertainment in 12 Asian territories.
  • International marketing manager for Redken Laboratories, Inc., overseeing global subsidiary branding, promotions and advertising for a division of L'Oréal.

The Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing educates students to become leaders in retail and consumer-oriented businesses, advances scholarly research in retailing and consumer behavior and conducts outreach activities that provide economic and social benefits to U.S. and global consumers, including programs on selling, retailing and retailing careers for youth in the Arizona community.

Van Gelder will start at the UA on Nov. 14.