Carlson Names Longtime Exec. Trudy Rautio New CEO
Carlson has named a new president and CEO.
The Minnetonka-based global hospitality and travel giant on Sunday announced the appointment of Trudy Rautio, the fifth chief executive in Carlson’s 74-year history. The transition is effective immediately.
Rautio succeeds Hubert Joly, who has been president and CEO for the past four years. Carlson said in its Sunday announcement that Joly resigned “to pursue other career opportunities,” and Best Buy Company, Inc., announced Monday that Joly will become its president and CEO in early September.
Rautio, whose previous experience includes stints at Jostens and Pillsbury, has been a senior executive with Carlson for 15 years. For the past eight years, she has served as executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer—roles through which she has directed all of the company’s financial and information technology operations.
Before that, Rautio was president of Carlson Hotels Worldwide for the Americas. In that position, she oversaw the operation and growth of Carlson’s five hotel brands in North and South America: Regent Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, and Park Inn. She also oversaw support staff within more than half a dozen areas of the organization, including sales, marketing and distribution, human resources, and public relations.
Rautio takes the helm at a time when Carlson is aggressively pursuing its “Ambition 2015” plan—a strategy announced in March 2010 that aims to grow the company’s hotel portfolio by at least 50 percent to 1,500 hotels in operation by 2015, and expand the presence of several hotel chains in key markets.
“Carlson is ahead of plan, and Trudy is the ideal leader to continue our robust strategies for continued success and profitability,” Carlson Chair and co-owner Marilyn Carlson Nelson said in a prepared statement.
Rautio is Carlson’s second female CEO, the first being Carlson Nelson, and the second CEO who’s not part of the prominent Carlson family.
In addition to touting Rautio’s strengths, Carlson Nelson commended Joly on his work over the past eight years, the first four of which he spent as president and CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a business travel management subsidiary under the Carlson umbrella.
“With Hubert Joly’s leadership through some very difficult financial times, Carlson is on strong financial footing,” Carlson Nelson said. “Hubert was hired as Carlson’s first non-family CEO and we are grateful for his contributions to our company.”
In announcing Joly as its new leader, Best Buy said that Joly grew Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s revenue from $8 billion in 2003 to $25 billion in 2007.
Carlson operates in more than 150 countries, and its brands—which include the T.G.I. Friday’s chain of restaurants in addition to various hotels—employ more than 170,000 people. It currently has more than 1,300 hotels in operation or under development.
In March, privately held Carlson released its 2011 earnings report, the first one made public in four years. It reported that system-wide revenues—which include sales from the company's franchisees—rose 13 percent last year to $38 billion. Meanwhile, company revenues rose 8 percent from 2010 to $4.5 billion.