British Columbia

B.C. resort CEO out of a job after review of sexist comment

The one-time CEO of B.C’s Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is out of a job following a review prompted by his sexist comments during a speech at a tourism conference.

Vivek Sharma told women at conference to 'go clean some rooms and do some dishes'

Former Fairmont Hot Springs Resort CEO Vivek Sharma, shown here in a 2021 photo, was the subject of a third-party review following his remarks at a tourism industry conference. (Vivek Sharma/LinkedIn)

The one-time CEO of B.C's Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is out of a job following a review prompted by his sexist comments during a speech at a tourism conference.

The chair of the southeastern B.C. resort's board of directors, Steve Giblin, confirmed in a written statement on Tuesday that Vivek Sharma is no longer at the helm and the CEO position is vacant.

"The board of directors will immediately initiate 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 about the review of Sharma's conduct.

Sharma had been on leave from his position for the last month following public outrage over his remarks at the opening of the B.C. Tourism and Hospitality Conference in Richmond on March 9.

According to members of the audience that day, Sharma asked the women in the room to stand in honour of International Women's Day, but then 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 "deeply" regretted his "insensitive and inappropriate comments," and then resigned from his positions on the boards of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., the B.C. Hotel Association and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

The resort later announced it had hired a third-party consulting firm to review the matter and Sharma was placed on leave while that process was underway.

'It is not OK'

Trina Notman, vice-president of marketing and communications for Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, was in the audience at the conference, and described the experience as shocking and embarrassing. She has said she immediately began pushing conference organizers for action, and later took the incident public with widely shared posts on social media.

On Tuesday, Notman said she has heard from hundreds of women since she spoke out.

"I have heard so many stories of what women go through in workplaces beyond just our industry, and it is not OK. It is important that women feel they can speak up and their voices will be heard and action will be taken. Everyone should be able to expect safe and respectful workplaces," Notman said.

Her decision to go public also prompted previous employees of Sharma to speak up with more allegations of inappropriate remarks 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 townhall meeting, when he was trying to motivate staff after a busy and exhausting holiday season.

"He said to us, 'Well, sometimes you get raped. You just need to lay down, take it and enjoy it.' The whole room, of course, gasped," former employee Mel Bahula recalled.

Emails shared with CBC confirm at least two employees complained to hotel management about Sharma's behaviour.

Sharma has not responded to requests for comment about any of his remarks.


Bethany Lindsay


Bethany Lindsay is a Vancouver-based journalist for CBC News, currently reporting on health. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.