Arne M. Sorenson was President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc., from 2012 until his passing in February 2021. In his role, he presided over the world’s largest hospitality company and some of the most iconic brands in travel. Mr. Sorenson built his tenure on the bedrock of Marriott International’s core values: putting people first, pursuing excellence, acting with integrity, embracing change and serving our world.
Mr. Sorenson led the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016, resulting in a dramatic expansion of Marriott’s ability to provide unparalleled guest experiences around the world. The company now has more than 7,600 properties across 133 countries and territories and 30 brands. The merger also created the travel industry’s largest customer-loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, which has more than 147 million members.
An outspoken corporate leader, Mr. Sorenson advocated for environmental sustainability, human rights, and diversity and inclusion.
Mr. Sorenson joined Marriott in 1996 and held a number of positions before serving as president and chief operating officer. He was elected to Marriott’s Board of Directors in 2011. He became chief executive officer in 2012, making history as the first person to hold the post without the Marriott family name.
Under his tenure, Marriott International was recognized extensively, including by Fortune in 2020 as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies and DiversityInc as one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. In 2019, Mr. Sorenson was named CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine and was placed on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Innovative Leaders and Barron’s list of World’s Best CEOs.
Mr. Sorenson was active on multiple boards. He joined the Microsoft board of directors in November 2017. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Business Roundtable, serving as chair of its Health and Retirement Committee, co-chair of its COVID-19 Taskforce and as a member of its Special Committee on Racial Equity and Justice. He served on the board of trustees for The Brookings Institution and the board of directors for Special Olympics and the Warrior-Scholar Project.
Mr. Sorenson was a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and the University of Minnesota Law School. Before he joined Marriott, he was a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. He and his wife Ruth lived in the Washington, D.C., area, where they raised four children.