Isadore Sharp, the mastermind behind the iconic Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, announced he is stepping down as CEO of the luxury chain he founded almost 50 years ago.

Sharp, 78, will hand over the top stop to current president and COO Kathleen Taylor, 52.

Sharp is credited with creating a truly unique culture at the Four Seasons Hotel – both for its guests as well as employees.

The first Four Seasons opened in 1961 in Toronto and has grown to 82 branded hotels around the world. The Four Seasons brand is one of the strongest luxury brands in the industry.