Beth Nilssen
January 12, 2018 / Industry News

Rhoda Olsen "Retiring"

Come January, Great Clips will have a change in leadership when current CEO Rhoda Olsen moves to the Board of Directors, current president Steve Hockett becomes CEO, and current COO Rob Goggins becomes president.

Did you get all that? It’s a bit of musical chairs, but the fact that these familiar names are taking on new roles reflects the great bench strength Great Clips has developed over the years. It’s also a reflection of how much care and thought has gone into our leadership transitions to ensure Great Clips has stability and consistency going forward.

Earlier this year, after the official announcement of these leadership changes, Rhoda wanted to share with everyone in the organization her perspective of what this all meant. As you’ll read in this message, her title might be changing, but not her focus and commitment on this company and all its stakeholders.

Rhoda Olsen
Great Clips CEO

Have you heard the news? I’m not retiring!

Lately, everyone asks me about my upcoming retirement. Maybe it’s understandable, since it comes on the heels of the announcement that I’ll be turning over the title and duties of CEO to Great Clips President Steve Hockett in early 2018. At that time, I’ll become vice-chair of the Great Clips Board of Directors, and Chief Operations Officer Rob Goggins will become president.

It’s another step in our long-term succession plan, similar to what happened several years ago when then-president Charlie Simpson transitioned to his position on the board. Ray Barton (who will continue as chair of the board) and I always aimed to develop a strong leadership team for the long haul so that any transitions would go smoothly.

With this upcoming change, I will still be involved but at a different level of intensity. I’ll work closely with Steve and Rob, and I’ll attend key company meetings. Plus, I’ll still be an owner and will continue to be invested in our business.

I’m also continuing my work with industry organizations, such as the International SalonSpa Business Network (ISBN), of which I am currently president. My role is to represent Great Clips franchisees and the industry as a whole.

The transition in our corporate leadership team mirrors and models what I consider to be a great focus this year on legacy succession for Great Clips franchisees who may want to transition their business to the next generation. Everyone’s situation is unique. The key is to make a transition within a legal structure that’s tax secure and financially feasible, so the legacy is protected.

That’s just another example of why Great Clips is great—the way we work together, in so many ways, as teams. Steve, Rob, and I sat down the other day to talk about the past year and the future. One of the things I brought up is, whatever the topic or the project, we’re always asking, “Who should we involve? Which franchisees would be best at helping us with this?” Those are automatic questions because we want to bring in the experiences, expertise, and resources of those who know best.

We look at franchising as a powerful continuous improvement process. We’re never satisfied with what we do and neither are the most successful franchisees. There’s not one of us at Great Clips, Inc. who is surprised when franchisees tell us what we’re doing wrong as well as right. We love that. They keep us on our toes. It’s part of the culture to listen, to build trust, and to keep working closely to develop those strong relationships.

This is at the heart of how teamwork and team building are integrated into the culture of Great Clips—a culture of always looking ahead and working together, which is a great part of our longevity.

So, no, I’m not retiring! Of course, in my new role, I am looking forward to having more time to focus on things outside of Great Clips. I’ve heard there really is a life out there—which will undoubtedly include more time with my precious grandkids!

But, I’ll still be coming into the office, attending organizational meetings, and as always, visiting my favorite place—any one of the 4,100-plus Great Clips salons. If you see me sitting at a stylist station getting my hair cut, make sure you say, “Hi!”

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on January 12, 2018
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