Hotel Online Special Report

 CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson Becomes 
Chair of Carlson Companies Board
MINNEAPOLIS, June 22, 1999 -  The Carlson Companies Board of Directors has elected Chief Executive Officer Marilyn Carlson Nelson as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Nelson, who became President and CEO in March 1998, now assumes additional responsibilities as Chair of the Board of Directors, the position which company Founder Curtis L. Carlson held until his death in February. Since assuming the CEO role, Nelson has overseen the growth of the Carlson enterprises to a record $22 billion in systemwide revenues under the company’s brands. The company now has business operations in more than 140 countries.

Nelson has been instrumental in forging international partnerships which have fueled the company’s growth: she helped guide a successful 1997 merger of Carlson’s business travel interest with those of the French company ACCOR; and in 1999 directed the formation of a partnership with German companies Westdeutsche Landesbank and Preussag, which merged Carlson’s United Kingdom travel operations with the German-owned Thomas Cook Group, creating one of the largest leisure travel companies in the world. In addition, she helped direct partnerships with foreign governments, such as that which resulted in the
creation of the newest Carlson cruise ship, the Seven Seas Navigator, to be christened in Nice, France, in August.

In addition to her leadership of Carlson Companies, Nelson currently serves on the boards of numerous international industry groups and corporations, including Exxon, U S WEST, the United States National Tourism Office and the World Travel and Tourism Council. She also is known for her devotion to community projects, including the United Way and several theater, music and child-centered organizations.
Nelson became director of Community Relations for Carlson Companies in 1968. Since then, she has held several leadership positions within the company and became vice chair in 1991. She was named chief operating officer in 1997, responsible for day-to-day business operations.

Nelson attended the Sorbonne in Paris and the Institute des Hautes Etudes Economiques Politiques in Geneva, Switzerland, where she studied political science and international economics. In 1961, she graduated with honors from Smith College in Northampton, Mass., with a degree in international economics and a minor in theater.

Early in her career, Nelson undertook numerous business, educational and community projects that provided the basis for her future as one of America’s most powerful businesswomen. She was a securities analyst for two years at Paine Webber in Minneapolis, and then held various part-time assignments at the Gold Bond Stamp Company, the progenitor of today’s Carlson Companies.

Nelson was regional representative for the stamp company’s “Group Projects” program, which helped civic organizations save large amounts of trading stamps to purchase much needed equipment for their organizations. Later, she became the company’s director of Community Relations and continued to learn all aspects of the company.

In addition to Nelson, current Carlson Companies board members are: Barbara C. Gage, president of the Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation; Edwin C. “Skip” Gage, chairman and chief executive officer, Gage Marketing Group; Duane R. Kullberg, retired chief executive officer, Andersen Worldwide, S.C.; Kenneth A. Macke, retired chairman and chief executive officer, Dayton Hudson and general partner, Macke Partners; Dr. Glen D. Nelson, vice chairman, Medtronic; and Lawrence Perlman, chairman and chief executive officer, Ceridian Corporation. Arleen M. Carlson is director emeritus. 

Carlson Companies, Inc., founded in 1938, is an international leader in providing superior hospitality, travel and marketing services and solutions to corporate and consumer clients. Among the well-known brands and services Carlson Companies owns or is associated with are: Thomas Cook travel and financial services, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (business travel and expense management), Carlson Leisure Group (leisure travel), Regent International Hotels, Radisson Hotels Worldwide, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Country Inns Suites By Carlson, Carlson Lifestyle Living (Carlson Park), Carlson Vacation Ownership, T.G.I. Friday’s, Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill, Friday’s American Bar, Italianni’s, AquaKnox; Star Canyon, Timpano Italian Chophouse, Samba Room, Taqueria Canonita, Provisions, and Carlson Marketing Group, the largest relationship marketing services company in the United States. One of the largest privately held corporations in the United States, Carlson Companies is based in Minneapolis, Minn. In 1998, the company’s brands generated more than $22 billion in revenues systemwide and currently employ about 160,000 people around the world.

Sam Macalus 
of Carlson Companies, Inc., 
Also See: Curtis L. Carlson, Founder and Chairman of Carlson Companies - an International Leader in Hospitality and Travel Services - Dies at Age 84 / Feb 1999 
Marilyn Carlson Nelson Ranks Seventh Among Fortune's 50 Most Powerful Women in American / Sept 1998 

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