Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced the promotion of Christopher Norton to the newly created role of executive vice president, global product and operations.
Effective April 1, 2014, the position includes responsibility for worldwide hotel operations, product, design, construction, and procurement. Under Norton’s oversight, product and service delivery will be further integrated to increase opportunities for differentiation as Four Seasons extends its global leadership position.
The appointment builds on Norton’s extensive industry experience, including 25 years with Four Seasons, most recently serving as president hotel operations, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, a role that included the operational oversight of all Four Seasons properties in the region.
“Chris is a visionary leader who has helped enhance the quality of our product across the region while staying true to the values that have been central to the company’s success,” says Allen Smith, president and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “The creation of this new role reflects our increased focus on product and service differentiation and long-term growth as we continue to align leadership talent with key business priorities. It is a role that recognizes the significant contributions that Chris has made—and will continue to make—in strengthening our industry-leading position.”
A graduate of Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland, Norton joined Four Seasons in 1989 as an executive assistant manager at the former Le Quatre Saisons, Montreal. Since that time, he has managed properties across the globe including Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan where, under Norton’s leadership, readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure ranked the Bali resorts No. 1 in the world.
In 1999 Norton was appointed regional vice president, overseeing properties in Indonesia, the Maldives, and Singapore. From 2007 to 2012 he served as general manager of one of the company’s flagship properties, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, while also overseeing properties in Europe, North Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East in his capacity as regional vice president. In 2012 he was appointed president hotel operations, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
“Over the past two decades, Chris has held senior operations roles in every one of our operating regions, giving him a unique global perspective,” continues Smith. “His international experience, strong leadership capabilities, team mentality, and passion for product make him ideally suited to take on this new role.”
In addition to his regional responsibilities, Norton chaired the company’s Global Spa Task Force, overseeing Four Seasons spa efforts worldwide. Under his leadership, Four Seasons was recognized by the 2011 SpaFinder Reader’s Choice Awards as the Best Brand Overall and as the Reader’s Choice for Best Resort Spa Brand by Spa Magazine.
Commenting on his new role Norton says, “The rapid pace of change over the last several years has inspired new ways of thinking about the guest experience, requiring an approach that is innovative and agile to meet the modern luxury traveler’s constantly evolving needs.
“My focus will be on enhancing how we design products, services, and experiences, and equally as important, how we deliver them. This means continued recognition of the integral role our world-class employees play in anticipating and shaping a guest’s mood and delivering the extraordinary experiences that are synonymous with Four Seasons.”
Norton will be relocating to the company’s headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and will report directly to president and CEO Allen Smith.