Kathleen Taylor (Canadian business executive)

Kathleen "Katie" Patricia Taylor CM (born August 25, 1957) is a Canadian business executive who 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 chaired the human resources and corporate governance committees, and served on the audit and risk committees.[2]

Taylor is 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 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

Taylor was born in Toronto, Ontario 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 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.


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 shareholders 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 inducted into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends in 2009[10] and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2016 with the grade of Member.[11]

Other work

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.

Personal life

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 Trainee Solicitor at Hogan Lovells, and Kevan Harris, a Marketing Analyst with RBC.