U-Michigan President Mark Schlissel appoints interim athletic director

October 31, 2014
Rick Fitzgerald, (734) 936-5190, rickfitz@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel today announced he was appointing James Hackett, the recently retired chief executive officer of Michigan-based Steelcase Inc., as interim athletic director for the university.

The announcement was made during a press conference where Schlissel said David Brandon, the university’s athletic director since 2010, had submitted his resignation. Read the president’s complete remarks here: http://bit.ly/1xItgKD

“Jim Hackett is a highly experienced and respected business leader, a man of integrity and a devoted member of our Michigan community,” Schlissel said in making the announcement. “I am confident Jim will immediately begin the process of moving the department forward, including working closely with me to develop a plan to identify and recruit Michigan’s next permanent athletic director.”

Hackett, 59, will serve as interim leader of the university’s Athletic Department while a search for an AD is launched. His appointment is pending approval in November by the university’s Board of Regents. He said he would not be a candidate for the permanent position.

“I am humbled to help during this interim period to keep our momentum as a great institution,” Hackett said. Read his complete remarks here: http://bit.ly/1u1irp5

Hackett is a 1977 graduate of U-M, where he played center on the football team. He is a member of the board of advisers for U-M’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Life Sciences Institute.

Hackett retired in February after 20 years leading Steelcase, the Grand Rapids-based global leader in the office furniture industry. His career with Steelcase spanned 31 years. During that time, he led the company through a transformation from traditional manufacturer to industry innovator, known as much for the insights behind its furniture as for the products themselves.

Hackett also serves on the board of trustees for Northwestern Mutual Life and the boards of directors for Ford Motor Co. and Fifth Third Bancorp. He is a member of the executive committee of the board of directors for the National Center for Arts and Technology and a past president of the Institute of Design Board of Overseers at the Illinois Institute of Technology.