MINNETONKA, Minn. - Marilyn Carlson Nelson and Trudy Rautio were all smiles as they walked into a 12th floor television studio at the company headquarters in Minnetonka. A whirlwind 72 hours had just concluded.
"Well, it was very sudden," Rautio told KARE 11.
Rautio, the former CFO, had just been named CEO of Carlson. Former top boss Hubert Joly abruptly resigned on Friday before it surfaced a few days later that he would lead Best Buy as its new CEO.
"He loves complexity. I think he was always attracted to a public company," Carlson Nelson, the company's Chair of the Board, explained.
Rautio was offered the job on Saturday. She got the call in her hometown of International Falls. She was asked to take a day or so and think about it. She called back and accepted in an hour and is now the 5th CEO in the history of the travel and hospitality giant.
Carlson employs more than 170,000 people in 150 countries.
"She's a Minnesotan. I'm sure my father's smiling because she's not quite Swedish but she is Norwegian," Carlson Nelson said.
Rautio also worked in high financial positions at Pillsbury and Jostens before coming over to Carlson 15 years ago. She has proven to be a very popular leader among the employees in Minnetonka, and she's excited about the years ahead.
"We see staying the course. We're pleased with the financial results and we're pleased with the operating results that we're seeing," the new CEO said.
It may be a different situation for Joly over at Best Buy Worldwide Headquarters in Richfield.
"The strategic challenges they face are not going away any time soon," U of M business leader expert Dan Forbes explained.
Joly was not made available for comment, but through a press release, he was commended as the right man for the job based on his accomplishments at Carlson as well as a couple of other international video game and technology corporations.
We asked Forbes why Joly would move across town.
"Carlson is a more diversified company in some more stabilized industries. Best Buy, I think, has some more uncertainty in front of it, but also some more opportunity, perhaps. That's maybe what he sees."
The short answer; he likes a challenge.
"Joly is well known as someone who can manage turnarounds effectively," Forbes concluded.
Back at Carlson, the whirlwind weekend was winding down. Several national media outlets were calling to talk about the fact that Rautio is a female CEO.
"I think it's my job to help set the path for those that follow. There still aren't enough women CEOs," Rautio said.
"I hope others will see that as a model that you can have an exciting, creative, innovative community where men and women are partnering together and have equal opportunities to succeed," Carlson Nelson added.
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