Marriott Appoints Anthony Capuano As New CEO

Filed Under: Marriott

About a week ago Arne Sorenson tragically passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He had been CEO of Marriott since 2012, only the third CEO of the company ever, and the first CEO without the last name Marriott. As promised, the hotel giant has now announced his replacement.

Anthony Capuano appointed Marriott CEO

Marriott’s Board of Directors has today announced that Anthony “Tony” Capuano has been appointed Marriott’s fourth Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ever, effective immediately. He will also join the company’s Board of Directors.

Capuano was previously Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services. Capuano is 54 years old, and has been at Marriott since 1995. For some context on his career:

  • He graduated from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration in 1987
  • He joined Marriott in 1995 on the Market Planning and Feasibility team
  • Between 1997 and 2005, he led Marriott’s full service development efforts in the Western United States and Canada
  • In 2008, his responsibilities for development efforts expanded to include North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America
  • In 2009, his responsibilities for development efforts expanded globally

Anthony Capuano, Marriott’s new CEO

What JW Marriott & Capuano are saying

JW Marriott, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, said the following about Capuano’s appointment as CEO:

“Tony has played a critical role in Marriott’s growth over the last decade. He will be a terrific leader as we continue to advance our growth strategy while also navigating the market dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. He works thoughtfully and pragmatically with our owner and franchisee community and has been steadfast in ensuring Marriott delivers operational excellence and elevated customer experiences at our properties. Tony has a deep appreciation for Marriott’s thousands of associates who ultimately deliver on our customer and brand promise and I know he will be a superb steward of our culture. Together with Stephanie in the role of President, and the rest of our exceptional leadership team, Marriott could not be in better hands.”

Meanwhile Capuano said the following about his new role:

“I am honored to be appointed to take the helm of Marriott, but it is a bittersweet moment. Arne was a mentor, a champion and a friend to each member of his close-knit leadership team. It is because of Arne’s efforts that we are prepared to move forward with this transition. Together, we will advance the strategy we have in place, which is laser-focused on recovery, expansion, providing opportunities for our associates, maintaining constructive relationships with our owners and franchisees, delivering safe and innovative experiences for our guests and customers, and building value for our shareholders.”

My initial impressions of Marriott’s new CEO

Let me start by saying that I wish Capuano all the best in his new role. I had never heard of him prior to this announcement, so I can’t judge him personally, but rather can only go off the company he has worked for, and what he has been responsible for.

A few things stand out:

  • It’s not surprising to see Marriott select someone who has been at the company for over 25 years, given that it’s a company that very much promotes from within; personally I wish we’d see some fresh leadership at the company, either from the Starwood side, or from outside the company altogether
  • With this appointment I’d expect it to be business as usual, and that Capuano won’t be rocking the boat too much
  • JW Marriott credits Capuano for Marriott’s delivery of “operational excellence and elevated customer experience,” which doesn’t give me much hope, because personally that’s not how I’d describe the Marriott experience from a guest standpoint
  • Capuano’s career was all about global development; on the one hand, Marriott has become the biggest hotel group in the world under his leadership in that area, though on the other hand, I can’t exactly call Marriott’s current hodgepodge of brands terribly inspiring

Bottom line

Anthony Capuano has been appointed CEO of Marriott, following the tragic passing of Arne Sorenson. Capuano has been at Marriott for over 25 years, responsible for global development.

With this selection, I’d expect it to be business as usual at Marriott, which I guess is more or less what we were all expecting, for better or worse.

What do you make of Marriott’s new CEO pick?

  1. So basically his instinct is to grow the number of hotels at any cost, never mind organic growth by improving existing hotels or customer experience. I bet he’ll be neutral at best for the loyalty program and won’t stop the race to the bottom

  2. You would think that Marriott would appoint a transgender’s BIPOC woman or perhaps some Native American woman instead of another White man.

  3. Woo Hoo
    Do a thousand nights @ Marriott’s and get a croissant at every full service stay for life @ breakfast or an apple as a lifetime elite.Redeem 100,000 points for a free night at the Ritz Carlton in Hono Hawaii which was half that a year ago and get no breakfast or upgrade.Fight for the upgrade elsewhere and you have value for your loyalty.You may even be able to upgrade on standby if your lucky.Yes loyalty has its rewards including a VIP concierge (not)
    Enter tunnel vision CEO brainwashed by the last and keep those massive devaluations coming

  4. @Ben I’m curious to hear which of the major chains (Hilton, Hyatt, IHG) you think offer more inspiring hotel choices? To me they are all about the same. Hyatt generally delivers better on their promises and have better elite recognition, but it only really matters when you hit Globalist, which is generally harder with their small footprint. To me it’s a wash. I can see why those focused on the North America market might have mixed feelings (not many aspirational hotels and average standards), but in Asia, Marriott is the best by far: the most options, great elite recognition and service, and many aspirational hotels at decent redemption levels.

    And to all those whining about “another white male CEO,” how do you know the BoD did not consider other alternatives you deem SJW-approved? Unless you were in that room, none of us know much of what went on. Pretty asinine and self-righteous to be indirectly accusing a company of bigotry from your anonymous thrones.

  5. If promoting form within, I sure would have preferred a Starwood background. You can’t compare the customer-centric management style.

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