To whom it may concern:
December 14, 1992
I am writing this letter in support of Mr. Martin Rutte, who over the past eight or so years, has made a significant impact in terms of both my own personal success and the success of the company which I led.
To summarize our relationship, I thought it appropriate to arrange my thoughts and Martin's contribution in a chronological fashion.
In late 1984 or early 1985, Martin was referred to me by a good friend who was teaching at the Harvard Business School and who had heard Martin talk about the impact of "vision" on both corporate and personal success. Over the next six months, Martin, myself and my management team developed a vision of what we all wanted to achieve individually and as a management team.
That early vision for a $400 million division of Labatt Brewing Company became the fore-runner of a vision for the entire corporation, but more on that later.
The vision that was developed for Labatt's Ontario Breweries, included profit and sales goals as well as some significant changes with respect to how we treated and utilized our Human Resources. I'm pleased to say that this vision put Labatt at the forefront of employee empowerment and involvement in the business.
As it became clear to my supervisors and the other senior managers of John Labatt Ltd. - the holding company for the brewery - that the Ontario Division Vision was having a significant impact on sales, profits and employee involvement in that operating division (market share was increasing because overheads were being reduced in non-essential areas and re-focussed on driving business results leading to profit growth of 35% in an industry demonstrating 4% growth in the same period) Martin was asked to assist the then CEO in the development of a world-wide vision for Labatt Brewing Company. The resulting vision "being amongst the top five malt beverage producers in the world" started a world-wide expansion program that continues today, particularly in Europe.
Key to all of the above were Martin's skills and abilities. Martin's key strength is his ability to visualize an end state that the participants must move to - obviously he will not know exactly what the industry parameters are for that end state, but his ability to probe and to develop trust with the participating managers allowed him to bring that end state forward from them. It is this perceptual ability to know when the end state is reached and his ability to draw the solutions from the participants that leads to outstanding results.
The development of the world-wide vision led to my assignment as the founding President of the European Division and a four-year assignment "off-shore". During this period, my own personal vision, developed in conjunction with Martin, allowed me to build a significant new business (in excess of $300 million today) in both the United Kingdom and Italy. Throughout the entire period, my key senior managers kept the vision of "being amongst the top five" foremost in their minds - and it drove them to inspired results. Labatt's Canadian Lager, our primary brand, became a top-ten brand in just under two years and was recognized by an independent market research jury as the UK's "most successful lager launch ever".
In Italy, we have two of the fastest growing brands in the country, Birra Moretti and Sans Souci, and we have grown to become the number three brewing company, all in an environment of ambiguity, where we didn't even speak the language five years ago - but we had a vision developed with Martin, and we had a belief in ourselves - also developed with Martin - that we could truly achieve our vision.
In May of 1990, I was asked to return to Canada to become CEO of the Canadian Company today. Labatt Breweries of Canada is the crown jewel of John Labatt Ltd. some $1.5 billion in sales with profits in excess of $200 million. At that time, it was a company in some difficulty - profits were declining, market share was falling and excess capacity was evident in various Operating Divisions throughout the country. Additionally, the employees were dispirited and without focus - and they knew it.
It was obvious that the company had to change and that it needed a vision of what its future could be. Two things were apparent; first, a complete assessment of strategic programs had to be completed and second, that that information needed to be forged into a vision that all employees and managers could accept as their own. Booze, Allen and Hamilton were retained to assess the current state of the business and Martin Rutte was retained to help us develop the strategy and vision for the future.
Working together, the management team and Martin developed the vision for the future of the Brewing Company in Canada - "Being the best brewing company in Canada, by being World Class in everything we do".
In an industry that was being assaulted from all sides by internationalization both competitively and from a trade regulation perspective, it was important that we recognize that fact in everything we do - overhead reductions, marketing programs, information systems, etc. - Martin synthesized the views and thoughts of all of the top managers into an action plan. We then customized and streamlined that program into a visual symbol the world as seen from the Lunar probe and built a five-year plan to implement the vision.
Implementation included reducing manpower, dosing plants and re-focussing marketing programs (the attached article from the Company publication Spearhead outlines more of the detail). Prior to implementation and after a streamlining of the management group - Martin worked with the remaining group to focus their plans and their personal visions so that the entire group of twelve were aligned with the corporation's vision.
As we implemented the changes and refocussed the company, Martin was there. He worked tirelessly to ensure that all the operating divisions had a vision of their future and that they were aligned with the national vision. He worked at training the 40+ managers that the future could be theirs if they knew exactly what they wanted to achieve and were committed to making it happen.
Two years after the implementation of the vision, market share has increased by three market share points, profits are up close to 50%, manpower has been reduced from 4500 to 4000 and two breweries have closed or are scheduled to close.
Through it all, morale has remained high - because a spirit of honesty prevailed and because the company and its employees know where they are going and how they will get there.
Martin Rutte has a vision of the future - and he knows that we all have a vision of the future - his particular strength comes from his ability to get us to speak our vision of the future and then to assist us in making it happen. To call him a visionary is an understatement, because he is able to build the ration into reality.
I'm pleased to write this letter in support of a fine human being, who has helped me to see the future and to make it happen.
John F. Morgan
June 18, 1985
Dear Mr. Rutte:
The Corporate Leadership Forum has just completed its first year of existence. We are very pleased to announce that by all measures our year was a grand success. We ended the year with membership of over 100 students, which represents almost 7% of the student body. We have also established important links with the business community that has led to a very impressive list of speakers for the next year.
We feel that much of our success is due to your seminar Turning Your Vision Into Reality which you presented at HBS last September. Many students have told us that your seminar was the best presented by any organization on campus. This is a high compliment considering the many distinguished speakers that come to the Business School.
With this in mind, the new officers of CLF have decided that there is no better way to kick-off our speaker series for the '85-86 academic year than to have you present Turning Your Vision Into Reality again. If you would agree, and your schedule permits, we would like to try to make your seminar the first event on campus for the new year. This would mean holding the seminar on September 14.
We hope we can add you to our list of confirmed speakers which includes: Frank Borman, President and CEO of Eastern Airlines; Shoichiro Irimajiri, President and CEO of Honda, USA; Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence and Passion for Excellence. As you can see we are planning another very successful year.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Robert R. Nunn
December 2, 1992
To Whom It May Concern:
Mr. Martin Rutte has provided consulting services to the Southern California Edison Company on several occasions over the past 3-4 years. Mr. Rutte specializes in:
Helping large corporations in areas of:
Mr. Rutte brings a unique blend of analytic skills and intellectual capability that has enabled him to very quickly understand the problem and help clarify and formulate proposed solutions to extremely complex organizational and strategic planning issues. This is a key skill that has been of tremendous value in shaping Edison's strategies in our Engineering, Planning, and Research Department, Corporate Strategy, and Gas Fuel business unit.
Mr. Rutte has utilized a unique technique called mind mapping which was recently highlighted in Fortune magazine to help senior executives think through complex business issues, identify the interrelationship between different elements, and offer an integrated solution for these problems. In contrast to other consulting efforts, Mr. Rutte is able to apply this unique capability in a very time effective manner, often over a period of a few days which provides a tremendous competitive and cost advantage in addressing these complex business issues.
I have personally worked with Mr. Rutte on at least four occasions in the last few years and in each instance his services have been exemplary. I believe he is an outstanding professional who brings to bear a special set of skills which is very difficult to find in one individual, or even within one organization.
VIKRAM S. BUDHRAJA
January 5, 1993
To Whom It May Concern:
I first met Martin Rutte approximately a year and a half ago. Our company was facing some critical issues in terms of designing a future direction and having an aligned senior management team behind this new direction.
We needed expert advice and support in getting this job done.
Mr. Rutte was highly recommended to us by a mutual acquaintance. He was hired and through the use of interviews, one-on-one meetings, and a corporate retreat assisted us in producing both a vision as well as a team fully behind that vision.
In addition to his work with us, Martin and I have spent time discussing future trends in management and I find him to be at the very cutting edge of creative thought in this field.
His work is, in a word, exceptional.