Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson has died at 62, after a 22-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
His death at his Washington home on Feb. 15 was unexpected. The high-profile hotel industry executive had just reduced his work schedule to focus on more intensive treatment for his health.
“Arne was an exceptional executive but more than that he was an exceptional human being,” said J.W. Marriott Jr., executive chair and chair of the board, in a 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.”
Sorenson was named CEO in 2012, to become only the third person to hold the top job in the company’s history and the first without the Marriott surname. He put the company on a strong growth trajectory that included the $13-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
During his tenure, Sorenson also steered the world’s largest hotel chain to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.
When Sorenson stepped back from full-time management earlier this month, the company tapped two veteran Marriott executives, Stephanie Linnartz, group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, and Tony Capuano, group president of global development, design and operations services, to share responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s business units and corporate functions, in addition to maintaining their current responsibilities. Linnartz and Capuano will continue in this capacity until the Marriott board appoints a new CEO, which is expected to occur by late February/early March.
Sorenson is survived by his wife, Ruth, and four children.