The Price-to-Value Podcast with Southeastern Asset Management podcast

Brad Martin and Staley Cates Reflect on Our Long-Term Partnership

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Staley and Brad have a wide-ranging discussion, covering the many areas in which Brad and Southeastern have partnered together across investing, civic and charitable endeavors.


First, Brad begins by sharing his retail history beginning with Proffitt’s and his acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue, where we overlapped as shareholders. He discusses managing a volatile business through September 11th, the lessons it taught him in patience with “non-linear returns,” as well as how he maintained his focus on creating value for shareholders when approached by Private Equity. Brad next discusses his experience on the board of Lululemon, from its early days as a small, privately-owned sports apparel business to the incredibly successful public company it is today. Brad and Staley then discuss Dillard’s, another company where we overlapped with Brad on the board during our ownership period from 2007-2012. Brad goes on to share his views on the state of retail today in the face of Amazon and the fast pace of digital change.


Next, the discussion focuses on Brad’s additional board appointments. Brad shares his timely views on the current bank crisis, drawing upon his experience as a member of the board at First Horizon, which he joined just before the onset of the great financial crisis. Brad and Staley then discuss Brad’s experience going on the board of Chesapeake Energy at Southeastern’s suggestion and his experience in working with us as shareholders while he held the board seat, including how his time at Chesapeake helped deepen his understanding as a FedEx board member. He then transitions to discuss his current role on the board at FedEx and why he believes “phase 2” of FedEx will be even more exciting than the first 50 years of the business. He talks about the positive implications of One FedEx for customers, employees and shareholders at FedEx. Brad also discusses another current investment overlap at Westrock Coffee, where Brad is Chairman of the Executive Committee, alongside CEO and Co-Founder Scott Ford, who we also partnered with in his prior role as CEO of Alltel.


Finally, Brad and Staley discuss civic and charitable overlap in Southeastern’s hometown of Memphis, TN. Brad discusses his one-year tenure as Interim President of the University of Memphis and the role he played in bringing in a transformational President, David Rudd, and the positive impact it has had on the broader Memphis community. The conversation concludes with Brad discussing Hope 2 Hire, a charity he founded that provides hands-on job training and life skills development for the prison population of Memphis.

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