The industry icon, who led Marriott to become the powerhouse it is today, dies at 62 after pancreatic cancer fight.
Mr. Sorenson became the third CEO in Marriott’s history in 2012, and the first without the Marriott surname. A visionary leader, Sorenson put the company on a strong growth trajectory that included the $13-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
During his tenure as CEO, he was tireless in driving the company’s progress, creating opportunities for associates, growth for owners and franchisees and results for the company’s shareholders. Known for his leadership on difficult national and global issues, Mr. Sorenson steered Marriott to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.
Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human beingJ.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board.
When Mr. Sorenson stepped back from full-time management in early February, the company tapped two veteran Marriott executives, Stephanie Linnartz, Group President, Consumer Operations, Technology and Emerging Businesses, and Tony Capuano, Group President, 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 be within the next two weeks.
Tributes from the industry have begun pouring in for Sorensen following his unexpected passing.
Chris Nassetta, president & CEO of Hilton, said, “I am deeply saddened by the heartbreaking news of Arne Sorenson’s passing. He was an incredibly respected man, a leader in hospitality, and a devoted husband, father and friend. It’s been a true honor to work alongside him on behalf of our great industry for so many years, and I will miss him and the friendship we’ve built. On behalf of everyone at Hilton I want to extend my condolences to the Sorenson family, the thousands of Marriott International associates around the world and the countless people whose lives he has positively impacted over the years.”
Geoffrey Kent, founder and co-chairman of Abercrombie & Kent, said, “My partner Manfredi and I were saddened to hear about the passing of our dear friend Arne Sorenson. We worked closely with him at the World Travel & Tourism Council where he made many important contributions to our industry. He travelled with Abercrombie & Kent and I especially remember his tremendous smile when he conquered Mount Kilimanjaro. We will miss his warmth, wonderful personality and friendship.”