Richard H. Madsen, president of Madsen Furniture Galleries in Salt Lake City, will become president and chief executive officer of ZCMI, effective April 2, Marvin J. Ashton, chairman of the 15-store retail chain in Utah, Idaho and Arizona, announced Thursday.

Madsen, 51, will assume the presidency of ZCMI from Lowell M. Durham Jr., who announced his resignation Jan. 17.A Salt Lake native, Madsen earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing from the University of Utah and, in 1966, a law degree from the U.

He served two tours of active duty in the United States Army and was a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge A. Sherman Christensen in 1966-67. He has served as an adjunct professor in the U.'s Graduate School of Business.

Madsen, who will resign his position at Madsen Furniture Galleries effective with his ZCMI appointment, serves as a director of several Utah corporations, business associations and charitable organizations. He has been involved in retailing for most of his career in his family's furniture business.

He and his wife, Doralee, are the parents of 10 children.

Madsen takes the helm of the nation's first department store during an expansion period. ZCMI recently opened two new stores and plans to open three more in the fall - one in St. George and two in the Phoenix/Mesa, Ariz., area. Other new stores are being planned for opening next year.

During the past 23 years, ZCMI has expanded from two stores - downtown and the Cottonwood Mall - to 15 in three states. The chain is completing a $3 million warehouse remodeling to accommodate that growth.