Seasoned player runs with feel-good factor
Industry veteran Robert Warman took the helm of Langham Hospitality Group as chief executive officer in 2014.
Previously the president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based Capella Hotel Group, the US-born seasoned hotelier has more than 35 years in the hospitality business, including 18 at the Ritz-Carlton, where he worked in various operational and executive roles at hotels in the US cities of Cleveland, Atlanta and Virginia, involved in its expansion and growth before it became a globally recognized luxury brand.
Warman, a Chicago native now in his 50s, started his career in the hospitality sector with a summer job at a hotel front desk, and he found the industry was quite interesting. And when he was offered a position in a hotel upon graduation, he decided to join the hospitality industry.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Economics, he joined the Hyatt Regency in Chicago as front-office manager at the age of 24.
When several of the senior executives with whom he worked went to The Ritz-Carlton, Warman received a call and was offered an opportunity to join the company. He was part of the team that opened the first Ritz-Carlton in the upmarket district of Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia. Warman believes the beauty of the industry really lies in the interaction it offers with people. “We are in the business that always tries to make people feel good.”
As the first American CEO of the Hong Kong-based hospitality chain, Warman is betting big on beefing up the company’s presence in the world’s largest economy.
The company in January announced three new projects in the US, including the opening of its first resort, in a bid to double its footprint in the country over the coming three years.
Of his business philosophy and management style, Warman said what matters is to always make sure that the whole team can come to work for the same purpose. So more should be done facilitate communication within the organization. “After all, you cannot encourage your people to work hard without telling them what they are working for.”
His family, including two grown-up sons, are still in Chicago.
Calling himself a firm believer in the adage that “success” is never equal to “reward”, Warman defines success as “creating excellence every single day”.
Very often, when you succeed, you will be rewarded accordingly. But that may not be a given and is by and large out of one’s control, noted Warman.
“The only part we can control is to try to ‘be successful’, making people feel good in our hotels,” he said.