The announcement follows an extensive global search overseen by the private company's long-term shareholders, Kingdom Holding Company, Cascade Investment and Triples Holdings. Mr. Smith, age 56, will take up his new position on September 23, 2013.
Mr. Smith has served as CEO of Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI), one of the world's largest real estate investment managers, since 2008. Under his leadership, PREI expanded its global presence, which today consists of 23 offices worldwide and $53 billion in real estate assets under management, including many hotels. Mr. Smith joined Prudential in 1987 as a member of its hotel investment group after earning his master's degree from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. Over the course of his career with Prudential, his responsibilities expanded beyond hotel investing to include all commercial property types and all facets of the real estate investment business including strategic planning, organizational development, capital partner relations, portfolio management, corporate finance and business operations.
Four Seasons was founded in 1960 by Isadore Sharp, who built the Company into the global icon it is today, with 91 properties in 38 countries complemented by a strong development pipeline. The Company was taken private in 2007 by its long-term shareholders. With their support, Four Seasons is expanding its leadership position by accelerating execution of its existing growth strategy to further strengthen its iconic brand, while creating new opportunities for its loyal guests, employees, and hotel owner partners worldwide.
Commenting on today's announcement, His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, said, "The success of Four Seasons as the world's greatest luxury hospitality company has resulted from the incredibly strong and consistent vision that the company has pursued from its inception. We have enjoyed a strong relationship over twenty years as the company has evolved and grown, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our friends at Cascade and Triples to support Allen as CEO."
Michael Larson, Chief Investment Officer of Cascade Investment, added, "We see great market opportunities to further expand the Four Seasons brand worldwide. Allen is a proven global growth leader and investor who fits well with our strong company culture and understands the value of preserving the quality of the existing brand. We are excited to work closely with our great partners and Allen to execute the established strategic plan for the company."
Mr. Sharp said, "I could not be more pleased with the selection of Allen to lead Four Seasons forward. He shares the vision and values of our organization and will complement our outstanding executive management team and inspire our exceptional employees around the world. Allen has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and will ensure that Four Seasons further enhances its position as the world's leading luxury hotel brand."
Mr. Smith commented, "Having led a global real estate investment business, I am convinced there is no greater hotel brand and the market demand for Four Seasons around the world is enormous. This is a remarkable situation for me to leverage the complete range of skills developed over my career and it is an honor to help take one of the world's most admired companies to even greater heights and more great places. The chance to work with this group of owners, management and employees created what is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity."
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