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Bill Marriott To Retire, Be Replaced By Son As Chairman Of Hotel Giant's Board

Bill Marriott at a 2015 Bisnow event

After more than half a century of leadership, Marriott International’s namesake leader will be retiring.

J.W. Marriott Jr., who goes by Bill Marriott, will be stepping down as executive chairman of the hotel giant following the company’s 2022 annual meeting to become chairman emeritus, the company announced Monday.

His son, David Marriott, will take over as chairman of the board for the Bethesda, Maryland-based firm. Marriott International didn't announce the date of the annual meeting, but last year's meeting was held on May 7. 

“On behalf of the board and the hundreds of thousands of people who wear a Marriott name badge around the world, I’d like to thank Mr. Marriott for his outstanding leadership throughout his tenure with the company. He is truly an industry icon,” Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano said in a release.

The younger Marriott was elected as a director on the board last year. He has been with the company since 1999 and was most recently the president of Marriott’s full-service managed U.S. properties.

The move represents the end of an era for Marriott, a hospitality company with nearly 8,000 properties across 30 brands around the world. 

Bill Marriott, the son of founder J.W. Marriott, began working for the company as an associate in 1956 and became CEO in 1972. He handed over the CEO role in 2012 to Arne Sorenson but remained chairman. Sorenson, a former partner at Latham & Watkins, went on to lead Marriott’s acquisitions of Renaissance Hotels and  Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide Inc., making Marriott the largest hotel chain in the world.

Sorenson died Feb. 15, 2021, at age 62 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. The company appointed Capuano as CEO and Stephanie Linnartz as president after Sorenson's death. 

In addition to the appointment of David Marriott atop the board, Marriott announced that Isabella Goren, the former chief financial officer of American Airlines and its parent company, would become an independent director of Marriott.

Also, Frederick Henderson, the former CEO and chairman of SunCoke Energy, will become the board’s new lead director following Lawrence Kellner's decision not to seek re-election to the board.