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The Meaning of Resolute




admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.

The origin of how Resolute came to be named is a tale based in resolve and reconciliation amidst challenging circumstances.

Our story begins with the HMS Resolute, a British exploration vessel. Since the European discovery of North America, adventurers had become fascinated with the notion of the Northwest Passage. A sea route north and west around North America via the Arctic Ocean presented lucrative commercial sailing possibilities.

In 1850, Resolute and three other ships departed for the Arctic, determined to find the missing expedition of Sir John Franklin. Over the next four years, the crew searched for any sign of the missing explorer. Amidst the search, Resolute found herself trapped in the ice, slowly drifting east. The crew reluctantly abandoned her to save themselves, leaving her to an uncertain fate.

The encased ship refused to go down. In the spring of 1855, Resolute was discovered adrift off the coast of Canada by an American whaler. Upon entering the vessel, it became clear that the departure of the crew had been anything but chaos. The supplies and sailing apparatus were purposefully and carefully packed away for winter. The captain’s quarters remained spotless, containing glasses and decanters filled with choice liquors, along Captain Kellett’s chair draped with the royal flag of Great Britain.

At this time, the relations between the United States and Britain were chilly. Disputes over territorial claims, fishing rights, and border disputes left both nations at odds. When she was rescued and brought back to the U.S., Resolute was given a new purpose – a token of peace and good-will. Resolute sailed across the Atlantic, and Queen Victoria was presented with the refurbished vessel. This was an event instrumental in easing tensions between the nations.

After serving for several more decades in the Royal Navy, Resolute was decommissioned in 1879. It was decided that it had been too important of a vessel to simply discard. Thus came the final purpose for Resolute. A total of four desks were created from the recycled timbers of the ship at Queen Victoria’s request. Each desk has a history, but arguably the most famous desk is The Resolute desk, gifted to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880.

The Resolute desk is a now iconic symbol of the U.S. Presidency. From the famous photo of John F. Kennedy Jr. playing underneath the desk, to the hinged front panel commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to hide his leg braces; The Resolute desk is a near ubiquitous pillar of the Oval Office.

When it came to naming Resolute Commercial Services, President and founder Jeremiah Foster and founding principal John Mitchell agonized over the right name. Ultimately, the tale of the Resolute desk resonated with them. Diagnosing and resolving the financial and operational issues for middle market companies can be complex and difficult. It requires resourceful, efficient, and creative solutions. It requires a purposeful, determined, and unwavering approach.

When it comes down to it, Resolute shares a lot in common with the ship known as Resolute.

About the Author

Cece Roeder is Marketing Manager at Resolute, where she manages marketing initiatives and activities, develops strategic plans and partnerships, and oversees the communications approach.