Mississippi College

AutoZone Leader Speaks at MC Faith and Business Ethics Program

January 18, 2013

AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. 

On February 21, Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AutoZone, will be the guest speaker at a Mississippi College School of Business event focusing on faith and business ethics. 

It’s an opportunity on the Clinton campus for hundreds of MC School of Business students to gain insights about the AutoZone success story, his rise to the top and the role of faith and business ethics along the way. 

The event is presented by the School of Business and successful Tennessee businessman Don “Papa” Jordan, a 1951 MC graduate. Jordan made a generous gift to the School of Business that specified the money be used to establish an endowment for developing programs and attracting speakers who would promote faith in the workplace. Prominent business leaders like Michael Ducker, chief operating officer for FedEx, spoke at the initial program on the Clinton campus in February 2012. 

Rhodes, 47, was elected the AutoZone chairman in June 2007. He has been president, CEO and a director of the Memphis-based company since 2005. Prior to that, he was executive vice president-store operations and commercial. Rhodes has served in various capacities with the company since 1994. Before joining AutoZone, he was a manager with Ernst & Young LLP. In addition, Rhodes is a member of the Board of Directors of the Dollar General Corporation. 

Rhodes is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Martin with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and received an MBA from the University of Memphis. Among other leadership posts, he serves as immediate past-chairman of the Board at the Retail Industry Leaders Association and is the treasurer of the National Civil Rights Museum. 

He’s the leader of a dynamic company that continues to grow. AutoZone’s first store opened in Forrest City, Arkansas in 1979. Today, there are more than 5,000 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil. 

Attracting stellar business leaders like Rhodes to discuss faith and business ethics topics was made possible by Papa Jordan, co-founder of the family-friendly Holiday Ham & Deli restaurants in the Memphis area. Earlier this year, the company opened their first franchise, Pimento’s Café, on the Mississippi College campus. Next-door to the Baptist-

affiliated university’s bookstore, the cafe in Olde Towne Clinton serves breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. It is closed on Sundays. 

In establishing the annual School of Business program, Jordan said he hopes it will inspire future business leaders to integrate their faith into every aspect of their lives, including their professions. 

Jordan, and his son, Trey Jordan, the owner and president of the Memphis area restaurants, were part of the lineup of speakers at the Mississippi College event in 2012. 

For more information on this year’s lineup of speakers and other details, contact Katrina Pace at the School of Business at 601.925.3421 or KPace@mc.edu

Photo: Chairman, President and CEO of AutoZone Bill Rhodes

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