Exclusive: Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz Appointed to Four Seasons’ Board of Directors
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is adding some fresh faces to its highest levels of leadership.
The luxury hospitality company announced Tuesday that it has appointed Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz to its board of directors. Hartz, who co-founded the online event and ticketing platform in 2006, says she decided to join Four Seasons’ board to work with an established brand and learn about an adjacent industry from the inside out.
Four Seasons CEO J. Allen Smith told Fortune that Hartz’s appointment is “very responsive to some of the things we see in the marketplace.” Smith explained the move underscores the company’s focus in attracting the next generation of luxury travelers— aka, millennials.
“Our strength is that of a luxury hotel management company,” Smith said. “We’re not a tech startup, but we have to be able to expand our capacity to deal with digital disruption. Julia can help us get comfortable with the speed of change, and the fact that this is the new normal.”
Hartz, who was featured on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list in 2015, knows a thing or two about running a high-growth tech company. Since its launch, Eventbrite has generated more than $8 billion in gross ticket sales, processing up to three million tickets per week for live events around the globe. The San Francisco-based company has raised nearly $200 million in venture funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Ron Conway, and DAG Ventures.
“I’m driven by velocity, big challenges on behalf of disruption, and building world class teams and culture,” Hartz said, adding that her experience at Eventbrite will help her inject innovation into the 56-year-old hospitality giant.
Although Four Seasons declined to disclose information about the composition of the board, it looks like the company is taking active steps to diversify. In March, the hotelier appointed another female leader to its board: Heidi Ueberroth, the former president of NBA International.
The appointments are significant at a time when more and more companies are coming under fire for their lack of board diversity. On Monday, the union-affiliated CtW Investment Group sent a letter to Urban Outfitters shareholders criticizing the retailer’s directors for their “extreme insularity.”
On a macro level, women haven’t had a very impressive history of board representation. In 2012, women accounted for 19% of board seats on U.S. companies. By 2016, that percentage had ticked up to 20%. Four Seasons declined to disclose information about its board’s term limits, but the average U.S. board member is about 63 years old, and the average tenure is roughly 8.5 years.
“It’s indisputably important for any board of directors, and company to authentically reflect the world we live in and the various points of view we have,” Hartz said.