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Marriott CEO Steps Back From Full-Time Role Amid Cancer Treatment

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson at Bisnow's Montgomery County State of the Market

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson will step back from full-time oversight of the company to facilitate treatment for pancreatic cancer, the global hotel company announced Tuesday.

Sorenson, 62, will remain CEO and keep his seat on the board of directors. He has tapped two executives to take over day-to-day operations of the business for the next several months, the company said. 

Stephanie Linnartz, who serves as group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, will oversee the company's international lodging division, plus the legal, human resources, communications and public affairs teams. 

Tony Capuano, group president of global development, design and operations services, will oversee the company's U.S. and Canada lodging divisions, plus its finances. 

The move comes after Marriott announced in May 2019 that Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed by the medical team at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. 

"While I have worked throughout my treatment to date and plan to remain as engaged in the business as my health allows, the right thing to do for me, my family and the company is to focus on my health," Sorenson said in a statement. "I know Stephanie and Tony will work with Marriott's strong executive team to continue to move the company forward. I, along with my family and my medical team, remain optimistic about my prognosis and I plan to return full-time after the conclusion of my treatments."  

Sorenson has worked at Marriott since 1996, and he took over as president and CEO in 2012, the first person outside of the Marriott family to serve in the leading role. 

In May 2020, the Bethesda-based hotel giant announced Bill Marriott planned to step down from his role as chairman of the board after more than four decades leading the company. It said he will transition to chairman emeritus in 2022 and will be replaced by his son, David Marriott. 

"Arne has the full support of the board and the executive team as he takes this time to focus on his health, and our prayers are with him for a speedy recovery," Bill Marriott said in a statement, adding that he has confidence in Linnartz and Capuano to lead the company's day-to-day operations. 

Marriott has faced a difficult last 12 months as the coronavirus has disrupted the hotel industry, but it managed to turn a profit in the third quarter. The company reported net income of $100M in Q3, down from $387M in Q3 2019.

The company's stock price has recovered from an April low of $59/share to $119/share as of Tuesday's open, but it still hasn't fully returned to its pre-pandemic highs. The company plans to release its Q4 earnings on Feb. 18.