Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson has died after battle with cancer

Arne Sorenson. (Courtesy Marriott International)

Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International says CEO Arne Sorenson unexpectedly passed away Feb. 15, after a nearly two-year long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Sorenson was 62.

Sorenson, only the third chief executive to run Marriott and the first who wasn’t a Marriott family member, stepped back from full-time duty Feb. 2 to undergo more demanding treatment for his cancer.

He is credited with growing Marriott to the world’s largest hotel chain, with its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016. Sorenson also steered Marriott to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.

“Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world,” said executive chairman J.W. Marriott Jr. in a statement. “He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth.”

In 2019, Sorenson was awarded the Governor’s International Leadership Award by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

“Even as he fought this battle throughout 2020, Arne agreed to be part of our Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Task Force, where he was characteristically generous with his time and insight,” said Hogan in a statement. “On behalf of all Marylanders, the First Lady and I extend our deepest condolences to the Sorenson family, and the entire Marriott organization.”

When Sorenson stepped back from day-to-day operations, Marriott named Stephanie Linnartz, group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging business, and Tony Capuano, group president of global development, design and operations, to assume Sorenson’s day-to-day duties.

They will continue in that capacity until the Marriott board names a new CEO, expected within the next two weeks.

Sorenson is survived by his wife and four children.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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