Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson Passes Away

Filed Under: Marriott

My gosh, this is tragic. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson passed away unexpectedly yesterday (February 15, 2021) at the age of 62. In May 2019 it was revealed that Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and earlier this month it was revealed that Sorenson would temporarily reduce his schedule to facilitate more demanding treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Sorenson was CEO of Marriott since 2012, only the third CEO of the company, and the first without the last name Marriott.

JW Marriott Jr., Executive Chairman of Marriott, said the following, about Sorenson’s passing:

“Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being. 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. But the roles he relished the most were as husband, father, brother and friend. On behalf of the Board and Marriott’s hundreds of thousands of associates around the world, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Arne’s wife and four children. We share your heartbreak, and we will miss Arne deeply.”

Marriott plans to appoint a new CEO within the next two weeks. In the meantime, two veteran Marriott executives will be managing the company. They were tagged for that early in February, when it was announced that Sorenson would be reducing his schedule.

These people are Stephanie Linnartz, Group President, Consumer Operations, Technology, and Emerging Businesses, and Tony Capuano, Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services.

My thoughts are with Sorenson’s family and friends. This is simply heartbreaking.

  1. Best wishes to his family.

    As someone in his late 50s I’ve been pondering retirement frequently. You don’t want to run out of money in retirement but you want to enjoy some of your retirement before you die and the longer you work the less likely you’ll be able to do so. I have a couple of family members in their 80s and told me to enjoy life while I can because health problems multiple quickly and for every older person you see traveling in their 70s/80s, there are many more unable to do so.

    I can’t say I was a fan of Marriott but I don’t know how much of that was Arne or how much was the rest of their management. Anyhow, cancer sucks and dying at 62 is sad.

  2. I listened to him speak at GBTA several times. He was a dynamic leader and an effective communicator. My condolences to his family and the Marriott team. Tough to lose your leader.

  3. Well said Rich — agreed on all points. Firstly, condolences to the family. Next, I do think Marriott needs to reassess its loyalty to its frequent guests (Titanium).

    Most importantly however is the point that time is the ONLY scarce commodity in the end. I’m about a decade younger but thinking along the same lines — maybe more of a downshift than a complete stoppage (have had some fortunate business transactions and have never lived close to my means).

    Was just telling someone yesterday about a bucket list trip that we took 2 years ago to New Zealand and Australia. Those countries aren’t even OPEN today and my wife and I did some fairly intense 10+ mile day hikes and other activities. You just can’t do those in your 70’s.

    Bottom line: don’t wait!

  4. I am not a Marriott fan, in part, because of their enhancement of shared toiletries. However, it is sad for the company and family that Arne has died. RIP.

  5. Rip Arne i work for Marriottt international 13 years and it was a great company to work for .my condolences to his family

  6. Don’t wait to travel (obviously wait after the pandemic is over) as you never know if the last trip will be it due to health problems. A friend was saving / waiting for that bucket list trip for years. Unfortunately he died of cancer out of nowhere within a month couple years ago. Everyone thought his husband, who’s overweight and over a decade older, would be the first one to go. I guess fate has a different plan….

  7. Agree with some here that voiced the sentiment of ‘don’t wait’. Goes for things other than travel too as far as I’m concerned.
    Also, it’s a cliche’ but it’s so true – if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

    (Don’t exactly know why but suddenly finding myself humming “Fiddler on the roof”‘s “To life, to life, Le’chaim! Le’chaim, Le’chaim – to life!”)

  8. So fast to go from diagnosed to passing :/. I said to a relative it seems like pancreatic & colon cancer is getting more and more aggressive in people. R.I.P..

  9. I did not know him and never met him. It is sad to hear the news of someone passing so early in life with so much to offer and accomplish—condolences to the immediate family and Marriott Family.

  10. I interacted with Arne Sorensen only once but he was curious and seemed to care about customer feedback. Sad to hear of his passing – way too young.

  11. Not a fan personally. I guess he was good for shareholders but the Starwood acquisition was bad for customers of both brands, not to mention hotel owners. My best wishes to his family

  12. To JW in Georgia-Yes you can do these in your 70 s IF you have made the effort to exercise, eat a decent diet, and of course have the luck of not getting zapped by a nasty unexpected illness coming at you.
    I am running out of 70 s. For the first time since 2005 I missed some rigorous hikes in the Swiss Alps in 2020 and do not expect to do them this year either. Hoping for a better 2022.

  13. This explains why I peered out the window of my office and saw the JW Marriott Brickell flag at half mast today. RIP Arne.

  14. Pancreatic cancer is simply awful. I’ve had two close family members go that way in their 30’s, so I know. I feel terribly for Sorenson’s family. That doesn’t change the fact that he was a horrible CEO. He took a culture that fervently believed in treating employees and customers fairly and intentionally destroyed it. He viewed customers as – at best – adversaries. OTOH he may have been a spectacular person when removed from work.

  15. I had the chance to meet Mr Sorensen twice. He was a very nice gentleman and incredibly smart.

    Rest in Peace!

  16. Christian, if you had two close family members die of pancreatic cancer in their 30s, have you been checked for the BRCA gene? It doesn’t just cause breast cancer.

    RIP Arne

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