Trudy Rautio, CEO of Carlson

  • Updated: January 5, 2013 - 9:19 AM

« We want the right talent around the globe. We might not be the biggest, but we can be the most innovative. »

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Carlson CEO Trudy Rautio was photographed at the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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« We want the right talent around the globe. We might not be the biggest, but we can be the most innovative. »

Personal file: Rautio moved into the top position at the hospitality and travel conglomerate last August when her predecessor, Hubert Joly, left to run Best Buy. Rautio, 60, a native of International Falls, has been in Carlson's executive ranks for 15 years. She is a graduate of Bemidji State University with an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. She's been honored as one of the "outstanding alumni" of Bemidji State; included in the "Women of Distinction" as selected by the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, and selected as "chief financial officer of the year" for large private companies by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Away from work, Rautio spends time with her husband, Kevin, at their cabin near Moose Lake.

What's big in 2013: Rautio's charge is to keep the company on a profitable route as it recovers from a recession that hit travel and hospitality hard in 2009. Projects this year include the grand opening of the upscale Radisson Blu hotel at the Mall of America; repositioning and refurbishing the TGI Friday's restaurant chain, and promoting the mobile app options for customers of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. But Rautio will have challenges, particularly with the company's European presence.

Final word: "The most important thing an organization can have is the right value set. We have a credo: integrity, service, innovation and perseverance. As Marilyn [Carlson Nelson] says, 'If you make decisions with the credo in mind, it'll be the right decision.' "

DAVID PHELPS

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