Olivier Jolivet has devoted the last two decades to the hotel industry. For eight years, he managed the Aman seaside resorts before taking first place in the COMO group, which holds Como hotels and resorts, in 2017. Now based in Singapore, the French businessman oversees a portfolio of 15 sites, including two in the heart of London and a resort in the Maldives where you arrive by speedboat. Many retreats, including Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos and Shambhala Domain in Bali, immerse your guests in a luxurious setting focused on well-being. And, last year, the brand celebrated a new milestone under the leadership of Jolivet: the opening of its first property in Italy, Castello Del Nero, which immerses visitors in the walls of a 12th-century castle at the heart of of Tuscany.
What’s the one thing you do every day to stay sane?
Exercise. I run or play tennis every day. This allows me to approach the day with clear ideas.
What is your biggest embarrassment at work?
Delay or hide bad news. Bad news is part of business and must be communicated quickly in order to find the right solution.
What do you look for in an employee?
The three I’s: Integrity, Intensity and Innovation.
How long should a meeting last?
No more than an hour. I don’t think people stay engaged any longer than that.
Do you prefer email, phone, text or Slack?
To be honest, none of that. I prefer to engage face to face. What people tell you is important, but what people don’t tell you is even more important.
What adjustment can everyone make in their life to be more successful?
Set clear goals and deadlines. If you hold yourself accountable, you will achieve your goals.
What is the best advice we have given you?
Remember the “sense of time,” which means that life is never black or white but rather in the gray area, and gray will change color over time.
What would you say to your young self?
Stay patient and enjoy the moment.
What is one thing that you want to improve in your professional life?
I wish I could find the time to completely disconnect. No technology or distractions. It’s easier said than done.
What was your first job and did you learn anything from it that influenced your career?
I worked for a large management consulting firm. Work has taught me the importance of passion and how, if you put effort and intensity into your career, you will be successful.
How did your experience at Aman influence your leadership at COMO?
The inspiration behind a brand is stronger than anything else, as long as you stick to it and the employees are passionate about it. It takes time to build an unmistakable brand identity, but I have no doubts that COMO can achieve this level of recognition.
Which COMO resort are you most proud of?