Christopher Cowdray, A Leader for Today

Chistopher Cowdray was born in Zimbabwe, and earned a degree in hotel management there, before studying at Columbia University, New York City. He graduated from the Columbia Business School’s Executive Program, and went on to manage hotels in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom, including being the managing director of the Claridge Hotel in London. In 2004 he became the general manager at The Dorchester Hotel in London, and in 2007 he was appointed as the CEO of the Dorchester Collection. He has thirty years of experience in the hotel industry. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, at the European Hospitality Awards,for his achievements with the Dorchester Collection.

Browsing the Dorchester Collection website is mesmerizing with its rich and luxurious perfection. The Dorchester Collection is comprised of ten luxury hotels in Europe and the United States. The realization of what it must mean to manage all of that is intriguing. It is evident that Cowdray has superior people skills, and his experience working with different cultures is serving him well in his current position. He is aware that to be a successful leader, it is necessary to address the needs of his employees first and foremost. He realizes that satisfied, well trained employees lead to motivated employees. A recent survey of his company showed employee satisfaction at 90 percent. He gives much credit for his success to the team working under him.

The reputation the Dorchester Collection of hotels enjoys today has been earned in large part by acting ethically and by being willing to carefully listen to their customers. Cowdray places much importance on treating customers as individuals, and encourages the leaders under him to avoid impersonal, standardized service. The impact of social media on the hospitality industry, as well as the growing needs and expectations of customers for the latest technology, have been among the challenges that have faced Cowdray. He has stated that the single biggest challenge to all luxury service organizations worldwide is finding talented employees with an attitude of eager willingness to accept and meet demands.

There can be no doubt that he is a man of passionate ambition and innovation. He desires to see hotels added to the Dorchester Collection, even if slowly, by finding properties that compliment them and enable them to remain true to the reputation they hold. His success is an inspiration.

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