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Bill Marriott's Son Sues Hotel Exec For Forcing Him Out Of Family Business

Bill Marriott at a 2015 Bisnow event

The once-presumed heir to the world's largest hotel empire is suing his father for forcing him out of the family business. 

John Marriott III, the son of Marriott International founder and Executive Chairman Bill Marriott, filed a lawsuit Thursday against his father and his uncle, Richard Marriott, Washingtonian reports.

The 56-year-old John Marriott began working for the Bethesda-based hospitality company his father founded at age 15, starting out as a dishwasher at the Crystal City Marriott. He rose through the ranks to become executive vice president of sales and marketing and president of North American lodging.

Then, in 2005 he left Marriott International, although he remained a board member, to lead another family hotel business, JWM Family Enterprises. The company, also controlled by his father, had more than $30M in profits across 16 properties as of 2014. 

Some expected Bill Marriott would choose John to succeed him as CEO, but in 2011, the founder chose Arne Sorenson to step into the leadership role. 

The rift began in 2015, according to Washingtonian, when John Marriott divorced his wife, Angela. His parents, devout Mormons, opposed the decision and effectively disowned him. In the lawsuit, John Marriott alleges his father removed him as CEO of JWM and took a substantial amount of his equity in the hotels and his trust fund.

The suit claims these losses will cost him millions of dollars every year. A spokesperson for Bill Marriott and Richard Marriott told the magazine they had not read the full complaint, but the allegations they were aware of are not true.