The global boss of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has left the company just two and a half years after being appointed to the position.
It is believed that Kathleen Taylor's departure is sudden as the company, which operates more than 90 luxury hotels in 37 countries, is yet to appoint her successor as chief executive.
Taylor took over as chief executive from the founder of the group, Isadore Sharp, in 2010. She originally joined the Toronto-based company in 1989 as a lawyer and became instrumental in growing the business into one of the most highly regarded and successful luxury hotel brands in the world, which today has 50 hotels in the pipeline. As one of the world's leading hotel executives, she became the first woman to receive the Corporate Hotelier of the Year Award.
Sharp, who remains as chairman and a shareholder of Four Seasons, said he was grateful for Taylor's long service with the company.
"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," he said. "Katie embodied Four Seasons values in all that she has done."
Taylor said that she had been constantly inspired by the employees of Four Seasons during nearly 25 years with the company. "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."
Four Seasons, which has been a private company since 2007, is owned by the Kingdom Holding Company (headed by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud), Bill Gate's Cascade Investment, and Triples Holdings, owned by Sharp. It operates three hotels in the UK: two in London on Park Lane and Canary Wharf and a country house property in Hampshire.
The group has appointed executive recruitment company Ferguson Partners to lead the search for Taylor's replacement. In the interim, Four Seasons nine-member executive leadership team will manage the company, overseen by the company's board.
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs