Marriott International's Group President - International, Craig Smith.
Marriott International’s new Group President – International, Craig Smith.

Veteran Marriott International leader, Craig Smith, has been promoted as part of an internal reshuffle of the ranks and will take on the role of Group President, International, it has been announced.

The change is one of several hierarchical adjustments revealed today by the hotel giant following the advice that 36-year company executive and current Group President, Americas, Dave Grissen, will retire from the workforce in early 2021. In his time leading the division, Grissen has grown Marriott’s portfolio in the Americas from 2,928 to 5,640 hotels, with a further 1,800 in the pipeline. He was also chiefly responsible for the global rollout and growth of the company’s Edition Hotels brand.

Having spent 32 years with Marriott International himself, Smith’s new duties will see him head up all non-American operations for the company, which will include the Asia Pacific, European, Middle East, Africa and Caribbean / Latin American divisions for the company. In his three-decade-plus career with Marriott to date, Smith has spent 27 of those years focusing on international markets.

Grissen’s retirement will see Marriott opt to consolidate its lodging operations under two primary umbrellas – North America and International – with current President Europe, Middle East and Africa, Liam Brown, shifting focus to take the reigns for the company’s North American heartland.

Marriott International CEO, Arne Sorenson, said it would be difficult to imagine a Marriott without Dave Grissen but that the future direction of the business was in highly skilled hands under Smith and Brown.

“The changes we are making will help define a new era for our organisation – one that will accelerate our global aspirations.

“We are lucky to have such a deep executive bench to draw from – both Craig and Liam are superbly talented and will bring tremendous experience to these roles,” Sorenson added.