Robert Dutton has had a profound impact on the business world in Quebec and across Canada, a contribution recognized with the honorary doctorate he received from Université de Montréal in 2012. His keen aptitude for exploring new markets and crafting business development strategies is highly prized at Agence QuébéComm.
For 20 years, Robert Dutton led RONA as company president and CEO. In 1990, he was appointed vice president and COO in charge of managing all of the company’s operations. His new responsibilities followed on many other key roles within the company, especially as vice president of development. It was in this latter capacity that he was responsible for all the organization’s marketing, retail, sales, and development departments.
From the beginning of his run at the company’s helm, Robert made a number of key operational and structural changes. Under his guidance, RONA experienced unprecedented growth and rose to the rank of Canada’s biggest distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation, and gardening products. In developing new big box stores, Robert pushed innovation even further, introducing the RONA L’entrepôt, Home & Garden, and RONA Le Régional banners.
The strengthening of RONA’s distribution network through mass investment in state-of-the-art facilities is one of Robert’s crowning achievements. These technologically advanced buildings have been established in strategic locations in Canada, providing RONA with sales outlets all across the country.
Robert played a leading role in consolidating the Canadian renovation/construction market with major acquisitions that led him to take RONA public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2002.
Robert Dutton currently sits on the boards of Coop Fédérée and Convivial. He is an associate professor in HEC-Montréal’s Executive Education program and also assists young entrepreneurs with business startups and development.