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Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens

  • 40 Apollonos Street, Vouliagmeni, Athens, 16671, Greece

Lilian Labropoulou

Director of People and Culture
“When you’re well-versed in human resources, the culture of organisations can be easy to understand. So my role is more about making the Four Seasons experience a reality for the team, so that they can make it a reality for our guests.”


Four Seasons Tenure

  • Since 2021
  • First Four Seasons Assignment: Current

Employment History

  • Euler Hermes, Athens, Greece; E-Clear PLC, London; HireRight, London; IDT Corporation, London; International Olympic Committee, Athens


  • Athens, Greece


  • BSc, Sociology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens; MSc, Human Resources Management, University of Surrey

Languages Spoken

  • Greek, English, German

Lilian Labropoulou hadn’t planned on overseeing human resources anywhere other than the insurance industry until the plans came for her. “I was approached by the Four Seasons office in Dubai, and it sounded like an excellent opportunity,” she recalls of the initial outreach that ended in her 2021 appointment as Director of People and Culture at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens. “Funny thing is, just a week before they reached out, I had lunch here on property. Everyone looked so happy, customers and staff. I remember thinking it seemed like a great place to work.”

Great, yes, but there were challenges for Labropoulou as well. Distinct from the industry she left, human resources is a key role rather than a support function in hospitality: Indeed, she now sits on the Hotel’s management committee. The Athens property was also fairly new when she arrived, having opened in 2019 and taken a pandemic pause in early 2020, with management still shaping the Four Seasons culture for the team. “So I was learning it and instituting it at the same time.”

Tricky? Not necessarily. “When you’re well-versed in HR, the culture of organisations can be easy to understand,” she explains, “so my role is more about making the Four Seasons experience a reality for the team, so that they can make it a reality for our guests.” Her approach goes well beyond hanging up inspirational posters in the back of the house. She fashions new policies and programs to keep people motivated; watches over employee-management relations, compensation, and benefits; and reaches out regularly with the goal of meeting every permanent employee – some 270 all together – to get their feedback on operations and guidance on what they expect.

Labropoulou also endeavours to be visible, walking around daily to wish each department good morning, and then returning in the evening to wish them good night. That’s no small feat: At such a large property, it can take her up to an hour. “The idea is to let everyone know that I’m here and, like the company, I care.” By supporting managers and developing talent, she essentially works to turn everyone into business partners. “When people feel that way, they really progress,” she says. “For me, it’s more about leadership than management and influencing decision-making throughout the Hotel.”

A native Athenian, Labropoulou studied sociology and considered pursuing a graduate degree in psychology before becoming intrigued by human resources. The discipline was relatively new in Europe at the time, but she could tell it suited her. “I’ve always enjoyed interacting with people, and the more I looked into it, I realised you can use HR to actually transform businesses.”

After starting out in finance, she moved into the insurance industry, working at multinational companies based in London that offered “enormous potential” for her to travel. “So it was never boring!”

And how about hospitality? “I love it, because there is no strict corporate profile for HR,” she says. “I have to adapt many layers of policy, and communicate with people on every level, right up to the General Manager.”

Now back living in Athens fulltime for the first time in two decades, Labropoulou enjoys getting out to dance. “When I first arrived at the Hotel, they organised a welcome at one of the bars and I felt comfortable from the start,” she recalls fondly. “Being abroad for so long, you see your hometown differently, and it took some time to readjust. Now I have sunshine and the beach and friends all over the world. I don’t feel like I’m far away from anything.”