Arne Sorenson, CEO and president of lodging giant Marriott international since 2012, has died from pancreatic cancer. He was 62.
The company said his death was unexpected and expressed “profound sorrow” for the loss. Sorenson had eased back on his daily schedule just two weeks ago to intensify treatment.
Sorenson was the first non-Marriott to serve as CEO and only the third individual to hold that title, after founder J.W. Marriott and his son, Bill Marriott. The younger Marriott currently serves as executive chairman and had previously announced plans to retire next year.
When Marriott announced in early February that Sorenson was undergoing more intense treatment for cancer, the company indicated that the CEO’s day-to-day responsibilities would be split between Stephanie Linnartz, group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses; and Tony Capuano, group president of global development, design and operations services. Marriott said that power-sharing will continue until a permanent successor is named, likely within the next two weeks.
Among Sorenson’s achievements was shepherding Marriott through the $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016. That deal expanded the company’s already-extensive lodging operations to 7,500 properties flying the flags of 30 brands in 132 countries.
Internally, he focused on intensifying Marriott’s diversity, equality and inclusion efforts.
“Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world,” Bill Marriott said in a statement. “He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth.”