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Four Seasons’ CEO resigns

Kathleen Taylor has today (Feb 6) announced her resignation as the CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

In a statement released today, the privately held Company, with the backing of its long-term shareholders Kingdom Holding Company, Cascade Investment and Triples Holdings, said it is “focused on building on Four Seasons leadership position by accelerating execution of its existing strategy to drive global growth and expansion of its iconic brand”.

Taylor assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer from Isadore Sharp, the founder of Four Seasons, in 2010.

During her almost 25 year tenure at Four Seasons she was integral to the expansion of the business which quadrupled its size, increased its global footprint from three countries to operations in 37 countries, and resulted in strategic partnerships with more than 100 hotel owners and developers across the globe.

“Throughout my almost quarter century with Four Seasons the one constant has been the power of the employees – they have always been my inspiration,” Taylor said.

“I am also immensely proud of the members of my Executive Leadership Team and going forward, it is they, along with the nearly 40,000 employees who will fulfil the vision that we have put in place together, driving the future success of the company.

“It has been a pleasure to get to know so many loyal Four Seasons guests, customers and residential owners around the world,” she said.

Sharp continues as Chairman and a shareholder and is closely involved in developing and advancing relationships with partners, employees and customers around the world.

“I am deeply grateful to Katie for her nearly 25 years of outstanding service and wish her well in the next phase of her career,” Sharp said. “Katie has been a trusted colleague and fundamental to building Four Seasons into the admired and successful company it is today.

“She leaves us with a strong foundation for the future and we remain firmly committed to leadership in luxury hospitality and accelerating our goals for long-term growth.

“Katie embodied Four Seasons values in all that she has done,” Sharp said.

Taylor was recently recognized through numerous awards including the first woman ever to receive the Corporate Hotelier of the World, the Cornell University Hospitality Innovator, and inductee to Marketing Hall of Fame.

Kingdom Holding Company, whose Chairman is His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Cascade Investment L.L.C., an entity owned by William H. Gates III, and Triples Holdings Limited, a company owned by Isadore Sharp, took Four Seasons private in 2007.

“Our long-term commitment to Four Seasons has not changed,” said His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

“We are confident that we can quickly identify a successor to Katie who shares Four Seasons vision and values and that the Company’s strong Executive Leadership Team, which has the full support of the shareholders, will provide the leadership and continuity necessary to guide us through a seamless transition.

“We see more opportunity today than ever before,” he said.

Michael Larson, Chief Investment Officer of Cascade Investment, added: “We have great confidence in the Company’s outstanding executive leadership and worldwide operations teams.

“We look forward to working with them and our hotel ownership partners to build our business as the global leader in luxury hospitality. Together with Kingdom and Triples, we are committed to achieving the long term strategic vision that has been established for Four Seasons,” he said.

Four Seasons has initiated a search for Taylor’s successor and has retained Ferguson Partners Ltd., a leading executive search firm, to assist in the process. In the interim, Four Seasons nine-member Executive Leadership Team will manage the company with oversight from the company’s Board.

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