Kathleen Taylor

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Kathleen “Katie” Taylor CM (born August 25, 1957) is the chair of the board of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and the first woman to chair the board of a major Canadian bank.[1] Taylor became chair of the board in January 2014, having served on the board since 2001, and has also chaired the human resources and corporate governance committees, and served on the audit and risk committees.[2]

Taylor is also the former president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Taylor is the chair of the board of the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation[3] and a member of the board of trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children.[4] She is also a director of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board,[5] where she serves on the Audit and Human Resources Committees, a director of Adecco Group, where she serves on the audit committee.[6] In addition, she is a member of the Principal’s International Advisory Board of McGill University and the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Schulich School of Business at York University, and a member of the National Council of the C.D. Howe Institute.

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Toronto and grew up in Oshawa, Ontario. She was the second of five children, and graduated from Oshawa Catholic High School (now “Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School”) where she served as President of the Student Council in her final year. She was also an avid athlete and leader in sports, participating in volleyball, basketball, track and field, badminton and tennis.

Taylor earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, where she was a member of the varsity volleyball squad in her freshman year. Taylor went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

While at graduate school, Taylor’s younger brother died after suffering from bone cancer. He was treated for many years at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where Taylor has been a volunteer for many years.

Career[edit]

After graduation, Taylor joined Goodmans LLP, a Toronto-based full-service law firm, where she practiced corporate securities and competition law. From May 1988 to May 1989, Taylor was seconded by Goodmans to the Ontario Securities Commission where she worked in corporate finance and enforcement.

In the summer of 1989, Taylor joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. She held a number of senior leadership roles during her 24-year career with the company, including president and chief operating officer (2007) and president and chief executive officer (2010). In 2013 Four Seasons stakeholders removed Taylor as CEO. It is believed the reason for this was because the pace of international growth was not as exponential as expected.[7]

Taylor has received numerous awards for her business leadership, including the Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award (2012)[8] and the HOTELS Magazine Corporate Hotelier of the World Award (2011),[9] among others. She was also inducted into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends in 2009.[10]

Other work[edit]

Taylor has been a strong proponent for increasing diversity on boards and in business to help companies improve their competitiveness. She is a member of the Premier of Ontario's Women in Business Steering Committee.

Honours and awards[edit]

  • 2016 Member of the Order of Canada with the grade of member[11]
  • 2015 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University
  • 2014 Canada’s Most Powerful: Top 100 Award by the Women’s Executive Network
  • 2014 Toronto Life 50 Most Influential People
  • 2014 York University Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • 2012 York University Bryden Alumni Award for Pinnacle Achievement
  • 2012 Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award
  • 2011 HOTELS Magazine Hotelier of the World Award
  • 2011 Canada’s Most Powerful: Top 100 Award by the Women’s Executive Network
  • 2010 Induction into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends
  • 2010 Inaugural Medal for Career Achievement from the Hennick Centre for Business and Law (York University)
  • 2006 Canadian General Counsel Award for Business Achievement
  • 2001 Award for Outstanding Executive Leadership from the Schulich School of Business

Personal life[edit]

Taylor lives in Toronto with her husband Neil Harris, senior tax counsel at Goodmans LLP. They have three grown children, Robin Harris, a New York business consultant, Taylor Harris, a law student at the University of Cambridge, and Kevan Harris, a student at McGill University.

References[edit]