Marriott CEO Sorensen dies after battling cancer

The CEO who grew Marriott International into the world’s biggest hotel chain has died. The company said Tuesday Arne Sorenson had passed away on Monday.

He was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer that was diagnosed in 2019. Earlier this month, he stepped back from his full-time role to treat the cancer.

Sorenson had engineered the $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016. That beefed up Marriott’s room count to over 1 million, making it the world’s biggest hotel operator. Marriott executive chairman J.W. Marriott, Jr. said, “He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth.”

Since taking over the corner office in 2012, the company’s shares have tripled despite the 15% setback last year due to the health crisis that slammed global travel.

Marriott said it will appoint a new CEO in the next two weeks.

Sorenson, the first non-family member to head the hotel chain, was 62.