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A look at Marriott International CEO Bill Marriott

Wednesday - 3/14/2012, 3:24am  ET

AP: d760c440-e39e-4429-9df0-10f7b627cb34
This undated photo provided Marriott International, shows J.W. Marriott Jr. the CEO of Marriott International Inc., the company his father founded with just a root beer stand in 1927. The hotel executive, who turns 80 on March 25, 2012, is stepping down as CEO but will remain at the company as chairman of the board. (AP Photo/Marriott International Inc.)
By The Associated Press

(AP) - NAME: J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr.

AGE: 79. Born in Washington D.C. on March 25, 1932.

EDUCATION: Prep school at St. Albans in Washington D.C.; University of Utah, B.S. in banking and finance, 1954.

FAMILY: Married Donna Garff in 1955. They have four children, 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

PARENTS: John Willard Marriott and Alice Sheets Marriott. They founded the company in 1927 with a nine-stool root beer stand.

MILITARY EXPERIENCE: Served as a lieutenant in the Navy, USS Randolph, an aircraft carrier from 1954-56 overseeing everything from the barber shop to the retail store and eventually meals for the ship's officers.

CAREER: Joined father's restaurant chain, 1956 and oversaw the first hotel in 1957. Became president of Marriott in 1964 at the age of 32; CEO in 1972 and chairman of the board in 1985, following his father's death.

HOBBY: Collecting and driving sports cars.

THOUGHTS ON GOLF: "I played a little bit and said: This is too much time and too difficult and I don't have the patience for it."

TYPICAL DATE NIGHT WITH WIFE DONNA: Action movies and hamburgers from Five Guys. "I don't understand all the stuff that these celebrity chefs are putting on their menus."

BLOGGING: Marriott doesn't use a computer _ he never learned to type _ but with help from an assistant produces a blog, which he composes in long hand or by dictation.

MORALE BUILDING: He writes 200 personal notes to customers and another 300 to employees each year. "The two best words in the business are `thank you.' I want to thank our people for going the extra mile. I want them to know that I've noticed."

2010 COMPENSATION: $9.6 million.

BOOK RECENTLY READ: "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero" by Chris Matthews.

LAST MOVIE SEEN: "My Week with Marilyn."

FAVORITE HOTEL: JW Marriott Camelback Inn, Scottsdale, Ariz.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)