American Marketer

Events / Causes

Four Seasons’ new CEO will drive brand’s global expansion

August 5, 2013


Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts' new president/CEO Allen Smith will guard the luxury hotel chain's vision and catalyze efforts to expand globally.

Mr. Smith is arriving from Prudential Real Estate Investors where he served as CEO and will begin his new position Sept. 23. The announcement resolves an extensive global hunt to replace former CEO Kathleen Taylor and will likely bring a fresh perspective to the brand.

"Allen Smith’s knowledge of both hospitality and real estate, will no doubt bring a rejuvenated energy to the Four Seasons company," said Damon M. Banks, director of DMB Public Relations, New York.

"With the continued growth of luxury hotels globally, it will be interesting to see how quickly the Four Seasons reaches its 100th hotel property," he said.

"One can expect the carefully calibrated expansion of Four Seasons to continue, perhaps at a slightly faster pace, but maintain the direction established over the past several years."

Mr. Banks is not affiliated with Four Seasons, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Four Seasons declined to comment.

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The luxury hotel chain announced Feb. 5 that Kathleen Taylor would be leaving her role as CEO and the company would begin a search for a replacement (see story).

The search was conducted by the private company’s long-term shareholders, Kingdom Holding Company, Cascade Investment and Triples Holdings.

On Aug. 1 the search concluded with the announcement of Allen Smith as the new CEO and president.

Under Mr. Smith's leadership at Prudential Real Estate Investors, the company expanded its global presence, which today consists of 23 offices worldwide and $53 billion in real estate assets under management, including many hotels.

Four Seasons Wailea at Maui

His responsibilities at Prudential included investing in all commercial property types, strategic planning, organizational development, capital partner relations, portfolio management, corporate finance and business operations.

Four Seasons intends to amplify its global activity with its new leadership.

Four Seasons Hangzhou

The company currently has 91 properties in 35 countries.

This land is your land

The brand has recently ventured into new areas that are sought after by global travelers.

For example, the brand is strengthening its ability to serve global travelers by reopening a hotel in Johannesburg that establishes the brand in South Africa.

The Westcliff Johannesburg location will reopen in the second quarter of 2014 with Four Seasons at the helm after signing a long-term management contract with property owners. The hotel brand aims to let guests seamlessly tour the world without having to trade luxury accommodations for authentic cultural experiences (see story).

Carrying on the values established by Four Season's founder Isadore Sharp will be a burdensome task.

"With the amazing work Isadore Sharp has done over the years while building this influential brand, having the talents of Allen Smith should only improve the company both short and long term," Mr. Banks said.

"Since the Four Seasons privatization in 2007, the shareholders together with Isadore Sharpe and the company’s executive team have worked tirelessly to continue enhancing the brands reputation and global reach," he said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York