BY JAMES WILKINSON
Esteemed hotelier J.W. ‘Bill’ Marriott, Jr has stepped down as the CEO of Marriott International, handing the reins to Arne Sorenson who will become only the third CEO in the company’s history.
“As we approach the 85th birthday of our company in 2012 and I proudly celebrate my 60th year of service, I decided to recommend to the board that Arne Sorenson take over the CEO responsibilities,” Mr Marriott said.
Effective March 31, 2012, Mr Marriott will remain Chairman of the company and take on the additional title of Executive Chairman and chairman of the board, the same time Sorenson – currently President and COO – takes over as CEO.
“I have been so fortunate to have worked with some of the most talented people in the world over the past six decades,” Mr Marriott said. “It’s amazing to me what we have accomplished over the years together, from a small root beer stand in Washington, D.C. to a global lodging powerhouse with operations in more than 70 countries.
“Looking forward, one of my most important responsibilities is to work with our board of directors to ensure that we are best positioned to succeed in the future.
“As executive chairman, in addition to my ongoing role as chairman of the board, I will continue to share my experience with our senior management team as we pursue our paths of growth and face the cyclical events I have confronted so many times in my career.
“My energies will also be directed at continuing to reinforce the timeless core values that have been the bedrock of our success and to being a company ambassador as we build opportunity around the world.
“To achieve that growth, the right leadership is critical. That’s why I am enormously pleased that Arne will become CEO. I can say that there is no one more deserving or capable of assuming this role at such an important point in our company’s history.
“Arne knows the business, lives our core values, and has earned the respect and admiration of all of our company’s major stakeholders. As Arne takes over the day-to-day reins of the company, he does so with my utmost confidence.
“Having personally recruited Arne to Marriott in 1996, I know that his success is related not only to his extraordinary talent, but is also due to his commitment to hard work, team play, and drive for results.
“His path through our company included roles as chief financial officer, later adding oversight of European operations, before being appointed in 2009 as president and chief operating officer.
“As his mentor and friend, I could not be more pleased, for him or for our company,” Mr Marriott said.
Sorenson said he was looking forward to the new role and praised Mr Marriott’s efforts at the helm of the global chain.
“I am grateful to Bill Marriott and the board for their confidence, and I am tremendously optimistic about the future of our company, which continues to benefit from Mr. Marriott’s wise, visionary and steady leadership,” he said. “With deeply embedded core values that have enabled us to succeed for 85 years, I am looking forward to an exciting road ahead for Marriott International.”
Replacing Sorenson in the COO role is Marriott’s current Group President, Robert McCarthy.
“I am also very pleased to announce that Bob has been promoted to chief operations officer,” Mr Marriott said. “In this role, Bob will continue to have oversight for our Global Lodging Services division and for our Ritz-Carlton brand.
“In addition, the presidents of our four continental operating divisions will have co-reporting relationships to Bob along with their primary reporting responsibilities to Arne as chief executive officer.
“Looking ahead, I have never been more confident about our company and its future. Our culture of service is as strong as ever and we continue to open doors to opportunity throughout the world,” he said.