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Carlson travel and hospitality names new CEO

Associated Press Modified: August 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: August 20, 2012
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Global hospitality and travel company Carlson on Sunday named Trudy Rautio as its new president and CEO, making her just the fifth chief executive in the 74-year history of the family owned company whose brands include Radisson hotels , T.G.I. Friday's restaurants and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

Rautio has been a senior executive at Minnetonka-based Carlson for 15 years. For the past eight years, she's been executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer. She replaces Hubert Joly, who had been president and CEO since 2008 and who is leaving to become CEO at Best Buy.

In an interview with The Associated Press, board chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson called Rautio "an obvious choice" to succeed him.

"Trudy is highly respected. She's probably the most effective go-to person in the company," Nelson said.

"Hubert made a significant difference," she said. "He was the first nonfamily CEO (of Carlson). He took over in 2008, which was the beginning of a very difficult financial time, so we are very grateful for his stewarding the company through difficult times."

Carlson, formerly named Carlson Companies, operates in more than 150 countries, with more than 1,300 hotels and more than 900 restaurants. Its brands employ more than 170,000 people. Its hotels include Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson, Regent Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Park Inn. The company reported $38 billion in system-wide revenues in 2011, up 13 percent from 2010, and $4.5 billion in company revenue, sales that show up on its own financial statements, up $4.5 billion from 2010.

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