Kathleen Taylor

Oshawa, Ontario

Kathleen Taylor is a Canadian businesswoman and corporate leader. She is best known for her role as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of the largest banks in Canada and a global financial institution. She was the first woman to hold a chair for a Canadian bank. She has a longstanding, successful career in the finance industry.

Early life

Kathleen “Katie” Patricia Taylor was born in Toronto, Canada in 1954, growing up in Oshawa, Ontario. The second of five children, her life was marked by resilience and tenacity from the start. She was a hard worker and studious in her school years, with her leadership skills and natural talents showing themselves at an early age.

She went on to serve her community through leadership roles at Oshawa Catholic High School (now Monsignor Paul Dwyer). She was President of the Student Council in her senior year. This was only the beginning of what she would go on to achieve later in life.

Taylor earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, where she was a member of the varsity volleyball squad in her freshman year. She then went on to earn a Juris Doctor (JD) from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

While in graduate school, her younger brother tragically died from bone cancer. He had been treated for many years at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and Taylor has volunteered there for many years.

She is married to Neil Harris, senior tax counsel at Goodmans LLP. Together, they have three children who are now adults, Robin, Taylor, and Kevin.


After graduation, she joined the Toronto-based full-service law firm, Goodmans LLP. There, she practiced corporate securities and competition law. She was seconded by Goodmans to the Ontario Securities Commission from May of 1988 to May 1989. Here, she worked in corporate finance and enforcement.

She then joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 1989, where she would stay for a long time and make a strong name for herself in the business world. She had a 24-year career with the company, holding many senior leadership roles during that time. She was CEO from 2010 to 2013.

In 1983, she joined RBC as Vice President in the corporate banking division. Over the next two decades, she held a variety of leadership positions at RBC, eventually rising to the role of President and CEO of the company.

In 2001, Taylor was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of RBC Financial Group, and in 2004 she was appointed as the President and CEO of the bank, a position she held until her retirement in 2013. She became the Chairman of the Board of Directors of RBC in 2014. She is the first woman to chair the board of a major Canadian bank.

Taylor serves as Chair of Altas Partners, a private equity investment firm. She is Vice-Chair of Adecco Group, as well as director of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Air Canada. She is also Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Hospital for Sick Children, the immediate past Chair and a member of the Board of the SickKids Foundation, and a Co-Chair of the SickKids Capital Campaign.

She has also been a strong proponent of diversity within the workplace and on boards in business. She believes this helps companies improve their competitiveness. Additionally, she is a founding member of The Prosperity Project, taking action to link women and prosperity, and underscoring the economic importance of gender equality during the Covid-19 recovery period.

The greatest highlights of her career are centered around her groundbreaking leadership abilities. During her time with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, she was instrumental in leading the company to rapid global expansion.

Known for possessing a strong business sense, she also encourages relationship-building. She has become a highly sought-after member of corporate and non-profit boards, as named above. In addition to paving the way for women in business and corporate positions, her non-profit efforts also have a great impact on the communities she touches.

Net Worth

Kathleen Taylor’s net worth is estimated to be around $2.5 million.


Taylor has also served on the boards of several other major Canadian companies, including Bombardier Inc., Canadian National Railway Company, and Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P. She is also a member of the Order of Canada and has received several other honors for her contributions to the business community.

She has received many awards and achievements for her business leadership. Some of these include:

  • Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award (2012)
  • Schulich School of Business Award for Outstanding Executive Leadership
  • Inaugural Medal for Career Achievement from the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at York University
  • Inducted into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends
  • Named to Canada’s Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN)
  • Governance Professionals of Canada Peter Dey Governance Achievement Award in 2016
  • Member of the Order of Canada (2016)
  • 50 most powerful people in Canadian Business in 2017
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in recognition of her significant contributions to the hospitality industry.
  • Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People

She has also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Toronto, McGill University, York University, and Trent University; an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University; and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Huron University College.

Taylor is a member of the C.D. Howe Institute’s National Council where she Co-Chairs the Human Capital Policy Council. She also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Schulich School of Business and on the Principal’s International Advisory Board at McGill University.