Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, who oversaw significant acquisitions and expansion of the brand around the globe to solidify its position as the largest and most influential hotel brand, died on Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 62.
In addition to overseeing the company's growth -- and grappling with a pandemic that threatened its trajectory -- he was also known for his progressive leadership on issues like diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.
The Marriott CEO is remembered as an astute businessman, a trusted friend and partner and an inspirational leader on global issues.
"Arne was an exceptional executive, but more than that he was an
exceptional human being," J.W. Marriott Jr., Marriott
International's executive chairman and chairman of the board, said in a
statement. "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."
Earlier this month, Marriott said that he would be stepping back from his full-time duties for several months in order to undergo "more demanding treatment." He had, however, planned to maintain involvement in the company's direction and remain a member of the group's board of directors, according to Marriott.
Sorenson, who joined Marriott International in 1996, was first appointed CEO of the group in 2012. During his tenure, he oversaw the company's $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, a move credited with growing Marriott into the world's leading hotel player.
Following Sorenson's plans to take a partial hiatus in early February, two Marriott executives -- group president for consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses Stephanie Linnartz and group president for global development, design and operations services Tony Capuano -- were appointed to take over responsibility of the company's day-to-day operations.
Linnartz and Capuano will continue on in this capacity while the Marriott board makes plans to name a new CEO. They are expected to announce their decision within the next two weeks.