Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson dies at 62

Marriott International has announced the passing of president and CEO Arne Sorenson on 15 February at 62 years of age.

In May 2019, the company revealed that Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and on 2 February 2021, Marriott shared the news that he would temporarily scale back his workload to facilitate more demanding treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Sorenson became the third CEO in Marriott’s history in 2012, and the first without the Marriott surname.

In a statement, Marriott described Sorenson as a “visionary leader” who “put the company on a strong growth trajectory”, which included the US$13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

“During his tenure as CEO, Mr Sorenson was tireless in driving the company’s progress, creating opportunities for associates, growth for owners and franchisees and results for the company’s shareholders,” the statement read.

“Known for his leadership on difficult national and global issues, Mr Sorenson steered Marriott to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and human trafficking awareness.”

Arne Sorenson greeting associates at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (image source: Marriott International)

Marriott executive chairman and chairman John Willard Marriott Jr said: “Arne was an exceptional executive, but more than that, he was an exceptional human being.

“Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth.

“But, the roles he relished the most were as husband, father, brother and friend. On behalf of the board and Marriott’s hundreds of thousands of associates around the world, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Arne’s wife and four children. We share your heartbreak, and we will miss Arne deeply.”

Arne Sorenson and John Willard Marriott Jr in Times Square (image source: Marriott International)

When Sorenson stepped back from full-time management in early February, the company tapped two veteran Marriott executives, Stephanie Linnartz and Tony Capuano, to share responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations of group’s business units and corporate functions, in addition to maintaining their current responsibilities.

Marriott said Linnartz and Capuano will continue in this capacity until the company’s board appoints a new CEO, which is expected to be within the next two weeks.

Featured image source: Marriott International