Alex Zablah, Gerber/Taylor Professor of Marketing and Fisher Family Faculty Research Fellow at the Haslam College of Business, has been appointed head of the college’s department of marketing. Zablah officially assumed the role on July 1.
Zablah follows Mark Moon, who had served as interim department head for two years. Prior to 2018, marketing and supply chain management were a combined department. When the departments became autonomous, Chad Autry, who had been head of the combined department from 2016 to 2018, became head of supply chain management while Moon, who had served as head of the combined department from 2011 to 2016, assumed the role of interim head of marketing. Moon says Zablah will help grow the department in its own right.
“Alex is an accomplished scholar and teacher, meaning that he has a strong appreciation for both the research and the teaching missions of the department and college,” Moon said. “He is an excellent strategic thinker with a vision for where the department can grow in the future. He is an outstanding collaborative leader. He is very meticulous and detail-oriented, and the quality of his staff work is unsurpassed.”
Following a rigorous interview process led by an internal search committee, Stephen L. Mangum, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair of Haslam, selected Zablah to succeed Moon. Mangum announced the decision in March, citing Zablah’s numerous contributions to the marketing department — including serving as Ph.D. director and founding the Biometrics Lab and Marketing Subject Pool, which have helped facilitate research across the department. Zablah’s thought leadership, included in premier publications such as Information Systems Research, the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Applied Psychology, also set him apart.
“Alex is a distinguished researcher, exceptional teacher and valued member of the department,” Mangum said. “In his research, he has explored organizational frontline issues with work that has been well-received across several disciplines.”
Since the announcement, Zablah has been actively engaged in day-to-day department head activities with Moon and participating in Haslam executive committee meetings. As he prepares to take on his new position, he is cognizant of the fact that disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will present unique challenges for all of academia.
“As I step into this new role, my first priority will be ensuring that we are in a good position to provide our undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional experience when they return to campus this fall,” Zablah said. “Doing so will require not only providing our faculty and staff with the support they need to perform successfully in this environment, but also finding creative solutions to any challenges that may emerge along the way.”
Another of Zablah’s priorities will be engaging with students, alumni, faculty and other stakeholders to learn their needs, expectations and goals. That information, he said, will be crucial for strategic planning that will guide the department over the next few years. He is particularly excited about exploring new initiatives for growing and strengthening the college’s Professional Sales Forum, helping students prepare for the marketing jobs of the future, supporting faculty research and teaching endeavors and helping industry partners address their needs.
“As the newest academic unit in the college, the marketing department is in a position to craft its own future,” Zablah said. “We can dream big. Every new venture we undertake will have the potential to meaningfully impact one or more of our stakeholders, and that is truly exciting to me.”
Stacy Estep, business writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org