Marriott International has paid tribute to "visionary leader" and "exceptional human being", president and chief executive Arne Sorenson, who has died aged 62 while undergoing treatment for cancer.
Sorenson, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, "unexpectedly passed away" on Monday (15 February), less than a fortnight after it was announced he would be temporarily reducing his schedule while he underwent more aggressive treatment.
He is survived by his wife Ruth and four children.
In 2012, Sorenson became Marriott’s third chief executive, the first from outside the Marriott family; he is credited with driving the group’s recent growth and transformation, as well as its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Marriott said Sorenson was tireless in his pursuit of growth while creating opportunities for associates, franchisees and partners, and delivering results for shareholders.
The company added Sorenson was recognised for his leadership on national and global issues ranging from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and driving awareness of human trafficking.
"Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being,” said Marriott executive chair and chair of the board, JW Marriott Jr.
"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."
Stephanie Linnartz, group president consumer operations, technology and emerging business, and Tony Capuano, group president global development, design and operations services, will share responsibility for day-to-day operations of the company’s business and corporate functions, alongside their existing responsibilities, until a new chief executive is appointed.
Marriott expects to make an appointment in the coming weeks.