Lavin Will Lead ISBM


The Institute for the Study of Business Markets has appointed Suzanne Lavin as executive director

Lavin named executive director of Institute for the Study of Business Markets.

March 4, 2015

The Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM), which connects academic research with business-to-business marketing practitioners around the globe, has announced the appointment of Suzanne Lavin as its executive director. She replaces Ralph Oliva, who will step down on April 6 after nearly 20 years as executive director.

Suzanne Lavin

The ISBM, headquartered at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, has worked over the past 32 years to create new knowledge, practice and ideas in business-to-business marketing. More than 70 member firms work with the ISBM to produce profitable growth and increase marketing effectiveness.

“After a thorough, six-month search led by executive search firm Spencer Stuart, we are delighted to have Suzanne take the reins at ISBM,” said Gary Lilien, ISBM co-founder, research director and distinguished professor of management science at Smeal. “She has a unique ability to usher in new stages of growth and transformation for companies—and that’s just what we need.”

Lavin brings to the ISBM two decades of business-to-business marketing experience in consulting, advertising agencies and on the client side. She most recently served as the vice president of corporate marketing at UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), where she led rebranding efforts and created the company’s first content marketing, social media and digital marketing programs.

The Lavin-led initiatives created new demand and engagement from UL’s stakeholders and earned multiple industry awards including the BMA B2 Best of Category, a Webby and a MarCom Gold. Lavin will be leading ISBM from her office in Chicago.

“I am thrilled about this opportunity,” Lavin said. “Not only does ISBM have the world’s most thorough and engaging research on business-to-business marketing, but it also has an impressive cadre of members. I look forward to aligning ISBM’s expertise to meet the needs of our members and the marketplace.”

Ralph Oliva

Oliva will remain a director of the ISBM for some time to help ensure continued execution of programs and projects underway with member firms. He will also continue to teach in the MBA and Executive MBA Programs at Smeal.

"This is an exciting time for the ISBM,” said Oliva, a professor of marketing at Smeal. “We have been remaking ourselves to provide even greater value for member firms and the B2B academic research community. Suzanne is best known as a ‘change agent’ with a passion and skill for creating world-class brands. She brings proven B2B marketing savvy, fresh new ideas and her own exceptional style.”

For more information on the ISBM, call (814) 863-2782, email, or visit

About The Institute for the Study of Business Markets
The Institute for the Study of Business Markets is a center of excellence in the Penn State Smeal College of Business that networks researchers, educators, and practitioners in business-to-business marketing in companies and universities throughout the world. The ISBM’s mission is to expand research and teaching in business-to-business marketing and sales in academia, and to build more efficient and effective marketing practice for member firms in industry.

REPORTERS & EDITORS: For more information, please contact the Smeal College of Business Media Relations Office at 814-863-3798 or