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Antoine Chahwan

President, Hotel Operations – Americas East
“Our diverse, multicultural workforce has taught us as much about evolving the art of hospitality as those who stay and live with Four Seasons.”

 

As President of Hotel Operations in the company’s largest region – a job he co-leads with Vince Parrotta – Antoine has a broad mandate overseeing properties in the US East Coast, Caribbean and Latin America.

In the luxury sector, much is made of knowing the guest, understanding their evolving wants and anticipating their needs. “The basic recipe for the hospitality industry, and even customer service in general, hasn’t really changed.  People want to be recognised, understood and welcomed.  At Four Seasons, we are singularly focused on providing guests with an exceptional service experience unmatched in the industry.”

As Four Seasons continues its expansion and growth, Antoine has a clear sense of his vision for leadership:  “I believe in leading by example.  To do that, you must be visible and ever-present in the hearts and minds of both employees and guests, even if it is not always possible in person.  Similarly to how we create an exceptional environment for our guests, we create one for our employees too, one that allows them to flourish.”

Believing that skills can be taught but attitude is ingrained, Antoine sees great benefit in the growth and global expansion of Four Seasons in recent years.  “We live in a diverse world and cultural nuances are so important in hospitality.  They offer us tremendous learning opportunities and expand our repertoire to deliver personalized experiences to our guests.”

Personal connections, knowing one’s colleagues and being able to come together as a team, is critical.  “As we continue to welcome more and more new team members at all levels, it’s important that we remain authentic and true to one’s self, what we have in common no matter our backgrounds: the honest desire to make people happy, and to provide unscripted service from the heart.  And with that, the legacy of Four Seasons continues to thrive.”

Career Highlights

  • At Four Seasons: Joined Four Seasons in Newport Beach, California (formerly a Four Seasons hotel) in 1990, and moved up through the food and beverage division in Philadelphia, Tokyo and Sydney before earning his first General Manager position at the pre-opening of the company’s former resort on Great Exuma in the Bahamas.  Returned to Asia in 2007, first as General Manager in Macau before moving on to Singapore, where he spent a decade as both the hotel’s General Manager and as Regional Vice President overseeing a portfolio of additional hotels and development projects.  Now based at Americas corporate office in Dallas, he assumed his current position in 2019.
  • Education: General Sciences and Psychology, Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, British Columbia

Personal Insights

  • On leadership: “The best time to promote someone is when they are 85 percent ready for the job, hungry for it, knowing they still have a lot to learn.”
  • Proudest moments: “When I left Singapore, there was a manager at my farewell party who I’d known since the hotel sponsored her education years earlier.  To see her there as a colleague who now works in our regional corporate office was a special treat.  It’s the people we help along the way that are so often the true measure of our success.”
  • Where to find him on weekends: If not at a ballpark, he’s in the kitchen. “If I may boast, my family (wife Hiroko and sons Noah and Jonah) insist that my eggs are the best.  The secret is to fry them in extra virgin olive oil – I am Mediterranean by birth – for crispy edges and tender yolks.”