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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 4:13 pm | Fair 55º


Kathleen Cochran Leaving Post As General Manager of Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta

Kathleen Cochran will end her four-year tenure as general manager of Bacara Resort & Spa this week, leaving the post to focus on her family.

Cochran, who has held the post since November 2011, put in her resignation notice at the Goleta resort last Friday and also resigned her position on the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Her last day will be Friday.

“I’m very proud of the accomplishments that have been made, particularly as it related to community involvement,” Cochran told Noozhawk.

“It’s been just a pleasure opening up the doors not just to more guests but to people that live here. Now I’m just ready for that next chapter. I have experienced personal loss recently. I need to spend some time caring for my family. So I’m going to take that time, and I don’t know what’s next.”

She sung the praises of her replacement as general manager, Shashi Poudyal, who came to Bacara a couple months ago from Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa.

Cochran brought more than 30 years of hospitality industry experience to Goleta, telling Noozhawk she wanted to be closer to her parents, who retired to Paso Robles.

Cochran’s younger sister, Sherry Villanueva, also lives locally as proprietor of The Lark and Lucky Penny in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.

Kathleen Cochran, right, seen here with her sister Sherry Villanueva, resigned from her general manager position at the Bacara Resort & Spa this week. Click to view larger
Kathleen Cochran, right, seen here with her sister Sherry Villanueva, resigned from her general manager position at the Bacara Resort & Spa this week.             (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)

In an email to staff this week, Cochran said she made her decision after a lot of “soul searching” and re-prioritizing after the passing of her mother in August.

“Right now, that is being a good wife, daughter and mother to my family,” she wrote. “While I will miss Bacara and all of you, when I look back on our time together I feel incredibly proud knowing what we have accomplished, most notably one of the greatest hotel turnarounds in history. 

“I would not normally depart so quickly, but I feel confident leaving with Shashi at the helm. You are all in great hands with him; he will lead Bacara into even greater heights.”

During Cochran's time at Bacara, the 360-room resort and conference center has garnered the highest revenue and occupancy in history while maintaining its Forbes Four Star ranking for resort, signature restaurant and spa, according to Bacara spokeswoman Anne Elcon. 

"Kathleen has been a tremendous asset to the Bacara Resort & Spa team, and a great pillar and advocate for our hotel in the Santa Barbara community," said Steve Arnold, president and CEO of Pacific Hospitality Group, which bought Bacara in 2013. "We wish Kathleen the best of luck in her future endeavors and thank her for nearly four years of service at Bacara."

He said Poudyal will assume the lead role with more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

Prior to Bacara, Cochran worked for several years in San Diego at the historic Hotel del Coronado and as general manager of Loews Coronado Bay Resort. She also spent time at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and at the prestigious Plaza Hotel in New York.

She said she plans to remain in town for the near future until the next opportunity comes along.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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