BETHESDA, Md. – Arne Sorenson, chief executive officer of Marriott International Inc., died Monday at the age of 62 after undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Sorenson, whose 2016 acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts for $13 billion transformed Marriott into the world’s largest hotel chain, was the company’s first CEO outside the founding family, CNBC reported.
“Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being,” J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., the hotel chain’s executive chairman and chairman of the board, said in a prepared statement.
“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,” he added.
The son of a Lutheran missionary, Sorenson was born in Japan, raised in Minnesota and took the Marriott reins in 2012. He was diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer in May 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to CNBC, Sorenson expanded the chain’s global footprint under dozens of brands, including W Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard and Sheraton.
Sorenson, who earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota, eventually became a partner with Washington, D.C.-based Latham & Watkins, where Marriott was a client. Bill Marriott, son of the hotel chain’s founder J. Willard Marriott, convinced Sorenson to join the company as associate general counsel, and he went on to serve as senior vice president for business development and chief financial officers before ultimately accepting the CEO role, the network reported.
Marriott confirmed Tuesday that Stephanie Linnartz, group president for consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, and Tony Capuano, group president for global development, design and operations services, will continue sharing responsibility for overseeing the chain’s day-to-day operations, roles they assumed earlier this month when Sorenson stepped back, the Journal reported.
In addition to his role with Marriott, Sorenson also served on the board of Microsoft Corp., was a trustee at the Brookings Institution and served as a board member for the Special Olympics. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and four adult children.
A new CEO is expected to be named within two weeks, CNBC reported.
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