On April 7, the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays will host the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series event, featuring Robert Dean (Bob) Loeffler ’77, former president of H-E-B, as the guest speaker. Following his lecture on leadership, Loeffler will be presented with the 2010 Visionary Merchant award for his role in the grocery chain’s success.
Loeffler, who holds an MBA from Texas A&M University, joined H-E-B in 1979 as a systems designer in the MIS department. As president of the company, he oversaw its more than 300 stores from January 2003 to December 2009. Currently, he is working part-time as chief administrative officer at H-E-B’s corporate headquarters in San Antonioâ€”a position he will hold for two years before retiring.
The award presentation and lecture are open to the public and will be held in Ray Auditorium (113 Wehner) at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7.
The Visionary Merchant Lecture will conclude a conference for an invitation-only audience of retailers, the center’s annual Sponsor Forum. Speakers for the one-day event will include Mays faculty members from the Center for Human Resource Management, Department of Marketing, and Texas Real Estate Center. Presentations will touch on issues vital to the rapidly changing landscape of retail, providing a mini-Retailing Summit for the select professionals.
“We are pleased to welcome our many partner companies to campus for the Sponsor Forum and Zale Lecture Series. This year’s events showcase the expertise of our faculty and the success of H-E-B, one of the nation’s most innovative retailers,” says Cheryl Holland Bridges, director of the Center for Retailing Studies. More than 450 students, faculty and guests are expected to attend the April 7 lecture series.
About the award recipient, Robert Dean (Bob) Loeffler
Robert Dean Loeffler graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1972 with a BS degree. He then served as an officer on a destroyer, including combat duty in Vietnam. He went on to teach Naval Science courses, such as celestial navigation and piloting, to NROTC classes while earning his MBA from Texas A&M University in 1977.
After a brief period in the oil and gas industry, Loeffler joined H-E-B in 1979 as a systems designer in the MIS department. He held many positions within the department, eventually leading it as vice president of MIS.
In 1990 Bob became the leader of the new, Houston-based Pantry Foods division of H-E-B as vice president and general manager. He attended the advanced management program at Harvard Business School in 1994. Loeffler was promoted to senior vice president/general manager of H-E-B Pantry Foods in 1996, and then to president of the Pantry Foods Division in 1998.
He returned to San Antonio in 1999, serving as president of the Dallas region and Pantry Foods division and as the interim CIO. His next role was heading up the eCommerce department as president. Loeffler then served as EVP/chief work process officer before becoming president of the company in 2003.
Loeffler was chairman of the San Antonio/Bexar County United Way Campaign for 2009, is a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and a member of the San Antonio USO advisory board.