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Four Seasons names Allen Smith new CEO

The Associated Press

Luxury hotel chain Four Seasons announced Thursday that Allen Smith will be its new chief executive.

Smith, 56, is currently CEO of Prudential Real Estate Investors. He replaces Kathleen Taylor, who announced in February that she would be leaving the company after nearly 25 years there, including three as CEO.

Smith, who has led Prudential Real Estate Investors since 2008, will start at Toronto-based Four Seasons on Sept. 23. He 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.

Four Seasons was founded in 1960 by Isadore Sharp, who served as CEO until 2010. The company was taken private in 2007 by its long-term shareholders and is now controlled by Kingdom Holding Co., Cascade Investment and Triples Holdings.

Like most hotel companies, Four Seasons doesn't own its properties but manages them for a fee. It currently has 91 properties in 38 countries.

"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," Saudi Arabia prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding, said in a statement.