The former CEO of BC’s Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is out of a job following a review sparked by his sexist comments during a speech at a tourism conference.
Southeast BC resort board chairman Steve Giblin confirmed in a written statement Tuesday that Vivek Sharma is no longer at the helm and the CEO position is vacant.
“The board of directors will immediately begin a search for a new CEO,” Giblin wrote.
“The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort remains committed to being a diverse, inclusive and safe place to work, visit or conduct business.”
He did not provide any further information on Sharma’s conduct review.
Sharma had been on leave from her post over the past month following public outrage over his comments at the opening of the BC Tourism and Hospitality Conference in Richmond on March 9.
According to audience members that day, Sharma asked the women in the room to stand up in honor of International Women’s Day, but after a round of applause told them to “go clean some rooms and do some dishes.” “.
Sharma issued a public apology after the comments came to light, saying he was “deeply” sorry for his “insensitive and inappropriate comments,” and later resigned from his board seats at the BC Tourism Industry Association, the BC Hotel Association and the BC. Chamber of Commerce.
The resort later announced that it had hired an outside consulting firm to review the matter and Sharma was placed on leave while the process was underway.
Trina Notman, vice president of marketing and communications for Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, was in the conference audience and described the experience as shocking and embarrassing. She said that she immediately began pressuring the conference organizers to take action and then made the incident public with widely shared posts on social media.
On Tuesday, Notman said he has heard from hundreds of women since he spoke.
“I’ve heard so many stories of what women go through in workplaces beyond our industry, and it’s not right. It’s important that women feel like they can speak up and their voices will be heard and action will be taken. Everyone should be empowered.” expect safe and respectful workplaces,” Notman said.
His decision to go public also prompted Sharma’s previous employees to speak out with more allegations of inappropriate comments related to his time as general manager of the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel and Conference Centre.
Three people who worked at the Sun Peaks hotel told CBC they were alarmed by Sharma’s comments during a January 2016 town hall meeting, when he was trying to motivate staff after a busy and grueling holiday season.
“He told us, ‘Well, sometimes you get raped. You just need to lie down, drink it and enjoy it.’ The whole room, of course, gasped,” recalled former employee Mel Bahula.
Emails shared with the CBC confirm that at least two employees complained to hotel management about Sharma’s behavior.
Sharma has not responded to requests for comment on any of his comments.