Sea­soned player runs with feel-good fac­tor

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG - By LUO WEITENG in Hong Kong

sophia@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

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