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Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson Dies Amid Battle Against Pancreatic Cancer

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson Dies Amid Battle Against Pancreatic Cancer

Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) CEO Arne Sorenson passed away at the age of 62 following a bout with pancreatic cancer.

Rise To The Top: Born in Tokyo, the son of a Lutheran pastor, Sorenson was raised in Minnesota and he graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and the University of Minnesota Law School.

He was an attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Latham & Watkins when one of his clients, Marriott International, invited him in 1996 to join their company as associate general counsel. He was promoted through the ranks until he became CEO in 2012, the company's third chief executive and the first who wasn't part of the Marriott family.

Under his leadership, Marriott expanded with the addition of the Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton and W Hotels brands. In 2016, he coordinated Marriott's $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Sorenson was diagnosed with stage two pancreatic cancer in May 2019. Earlier this month, the Bethesda, Maryland-headquartered company announced his schedule was being cut back in order to enable him to pursue a more aggressive cancer treatment.

In Memoriam: Tributes to Sorenson quickly followed the news of his passing.

"Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being," said Marriott Executive Chairman J.W. Marriott Jr. in a statement. "Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world."

"Arne was a visionary leader driven by passion for his people, the millions of associates around the world who worked for and with him and by a desire to spread a love for travel," said William "Chip" Rogers, president & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. "He was an icon in our industry, dedicated to improving the lodging experience for the guests we serve and the people who serve them."

Sorenson, a Democrat, publicly supported Mitt Romney's 2012 Republican presidential campaign. Romney, now a U.S. Senator from Utah, praised Sorenson as "not only a brilliant executive, he was also a fundamentally good person who cared intensely about the many thousands of his colleagues around the world. I will miss his counsel, his warmth and his genuine friendship."

Photo courtesy Michael Buholzer / Creative Commons.


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