From Cub Scouts to the Corner Office

All too often it's those without integrity who make the headline news. When corporate scandals break, no one really ever hears much about the "boy scouts" of business, or those who play by the rules.

Maybe it's time more people did. And from what better source then the new top scout, Robert Mazzuca?

Labor Day weekend marked Mazzuca's first days as the Boy Scouts of America chief scout executive. The job is as demanding as any faced by a corporate CEO, requiring extensive knowledge of an organization 1.2 million volunteers strong. Replacing Roy Williams, who retired after seven years in the post, Mazzuca also will be responsible for 7,000 employees and 304 councils across the country.

Mazzuca is a seasoned veteran, having spent 36 years as a professional in the Boy Scouts. He recalled how he got started in a camp in Northern California decades ago, long before MySpace replaced the campfire, before the Internet replaced the outdoors.

Those were simpler days, he said, when some of the most powerful men in the modern corporate world learned their unshakable values -- values Mazzuca promised some of these scouts are still swearing by today. He named a few: Rex Tillerson, chairman of Exxon Mobil, Drayton McClain, owner of Major League Baseball's Houston Astros, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates -- who had to abdicate his role on the BSA board to serve the country -- and Jim Rohr, PNC Bank's chief executive and one of Mazzuca's closest friends.

"These are corporate giants who understand the value of a work force that has integrity," Mazzuca said. "A work force that has the capacity for leadership and a work force that isn't going to steal the paper clips, for Pete's sake."

As chief scout, Mazzuca's focus is on the future and molding more Tillersons and Rohrs. In particular, he's eyeing the 100th anniversary celebration along with an updated approach to attracting fresh scouts, who have extracurricular options like never before.

Mazzuca sees the job of chief scout as the "preserver, protector and enhancer of the brand." What's the transition into the top spot in the Boy Scouts of America been like after serving the organization for 36 years?

Robert Mazzuca: Roy Williams and I have a good relationship, and it allowed me to spend some time this summer traveling around and meeting with some stakeholders building some consensus around some ideas that I have going forward. While he minded the store, it was really very good and very pleasant, and I appreciate it. I thought going into it that I would not like it, but it worked out really, really well. You seldom hear about the Boy Scouts of America "executives" or what goes on behind the scenes with guys in your position. When people think of the organization they think local. Why don't we hear about the chief scout executive?

Robert Mazzuca: Our goal is to make these volunteers successful and to get out of the way. Because when you think about the multiplying effect of staff people who recruit, train and then motivate the courage to support in volunteers; they, in turn, deliver the program. That is the magic of scouting. As the newly appointed chief scout executive, what do you plan to do differently to draw more scouts to the organization?

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