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David Marriott To Replace Bill Marriott As Chairman Of Global Hotel Giant

Bill Marriott at a 2015 Bisnow event

Bill Marriott is planning to step down from his role as chairman of Marriott International's board after more than four decades leading the company. 

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson announced on the firm's earnings call Tuesday Bill Marriott, 88, would transition to chairman emeritus in 2022 and would be replaced by his son, David Marriott. The company also detailed the financial challenges it faces as the coronavirus continues to damage the hotel industry. 

The son of founder J.W. Marriott, Bill Marriott became CEO in 1972 and chairman in 1985, the Washington Business Journal reports. Sorenson took over as CEO in 2012. 

"For now, Bill, let me say thank you," Sorenson said on the call, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript. "To me, you are a boss, a mentor, a friend and truly, family. I cannot imagine a time without your partnership and friendship, and I pray that there are many more years ahead for us."

David Marriott currently serves as president of U.S. operations for Managed by Marriott, the company's hotel management arm. He plans to step down from that role next year and join the company's board of directors, and then become chair in 2022, Sorenson said.

Sorenson also announced the retirement of David Grissen, who will step down from his role as head of the Americas next year, and the CEO outlined a restructuring of the company's geographic leadership starting next year. Liam Brown, who currently oversees the company's Europe, Middle East and Africa division, will become the head of the North America division. All regions outside of North America will be overseen by Craig Smith, who currently leads the Asia Pacific division. 

The global hotel company also outlined its financial performance in the first quarter, the period when the coronavirus spread in China and throughout the rest of the world by March. Marriott's Q1 revenue per available room declined 22.5% from the prior year. Its reported $31M of net income was down from $375M in Q1 2019.

During April, Marriott's worldwide revenue per available room — the industry's top performance metric — declined by 90% year-over-year. About 25% of the company's hotels have been temporarily closed. Of the hotels remaining open, the occupancy for the week ending May 2 was 20%. 

The company has worked to shore up its liquidity by issuing $1.6B in senior notes in April, and its net liquidity now stands at $4.3B. Sorenson is confident the company has enough liquidity to make it through the crisis, which he said is the worst Marriott has faced in its 92-year history.