Marriott on the Move



J. Edgar & Me

Posted:12/27/201112:03 PM


Donna and I attended the J. Edgar movie on opening day.  We both thought the movie was very well done. 

I was born in Washington in 1932 and lived here all my life except for four years in college at the University of Utah and two years in the U.S. Navy.  I grew up hearing about J. Edgar Hoover and the G. Men.

In 1939, my dad bought his first Cadillac and as a little boy I would travel with him to the Cadillac dealer to have his car serviced.  I remember seeing Hoover’s limousine in the garage.  While I looked inside, I saw machine guns fastened to the back of the front seat – very cool view for a six-year-old. 

Dad knew Hoover somewhat, but was a good friend of Sam Cowley with whom we attended church.  Sam was the FBI agent who was killed in a shoot-out with Baby Face Nelsen, a notorious gangster in the 30’s.  Cowley was able to kill Baby Face in the shoot out.  When my dad passed away, there was a letter in his old file from Hoover, who wrote my dad that Sam Cowley was the bravest man he ever met. FBI director J Edgar Hoover

Hoover and our family shared the same doctor and I was able to meet him one day in the doctor’s office.  I was in my 30’s and J. Edgar was very friendly and warm to this young man.

When we assumed the management of the Mayflower hotel in Washington, the staff was anxious to show me the booth where J. Edgar Hoover had lunch every day when he was in town.

Throughout my young life in Washington, J. Edgar Hoover was a powerful force.  Many Presidents came and went, but Hoover stayed on and seemed to be invincible and able to survive each and every new President.  He was quite a man. 

Leave a comment on J. Edgar or any movie that you recommend seeing. 

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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My Decision: Timing is Everything

Posted:12/19/2011 4:41 PM

 Listen to blog MY DECISION

It’s been quite a week since I announced that I’m handing over the day-to-day CEO reins to Arne Sorenson.  The blog comments have been truly heartwarming.  Thank you so much.

So people ask, “What went into my decision?”

I try to lead from my heart and my heart said, “Now’s the time.”  For some reason, many of you thought that we were talking about the “R” word – retirement. I’m not going anywhere.  I’m going to be executive chairman and as I said in numerous media interviews, Arne will be driving the bus, but I’ll still be onboard. 

Bill & Arne handshake

So, why now?  I think timing is everything in life.  Next year, I will celebrate four personal milestones:  I’ll turn 80 years of age in March.  I'll have worked at Marriott for 60 years in June.  I’ll have been CEO for almost 40 years and celebrate that anniversary in November.  And I will have known Arne Sorenson for 20 years.  These are nice round zero dates. 

It’s also a time of great strength for our company.  We’re totally focused on lodging and developing the best hotel brands in the world.  I also didn’t want to wait until next year.  I can hear the whispers, “When’s it going to happen?”  Well, it has happened. And after a week, it feels good.  It’s perfect timing just before the holidays. 

While I surprised some folks, one thing that surprised me was the reaction.  The media was overly generous with very flattering stories.  During a rally at our headquarters, I had a difficult time keeping my emotions in check.  It was a day that I’ll never forget. (video excerpt below)


You’ve often heard me blog about my family.  Well, I really wanted their blessing.  Once again, they kept it “real.”  I think you’ll find this story amusing.  There’s an expression that I would use on long road trips when the kids would start acting up in the back seat.  I would holler at them and say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”  When I told my children about this big decision and waited for their blessings, they said, “Well, you’ve been CEO for 40 years. ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.’ It’s time for you to let up a little bit.”

Many ask, “How do I feel?” Above all, I’m grateful first to my family, especially my wife, Donna, grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented people, and very grateful that Arne is ready.

Bill waves

As executive chairman, I’m not going anywhere.  I will continue to blog and stay in touch with all of you.  And now, as I said to our Marriott associates at the end of the rally: 



I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move. 


Below are links to some media coverage:

The Washington Post - Page 1; Dec. 13, 2011

"Bill Marriott: the man I know" by Mike Rosenwald, The Washington Post

Televison reports:



Voice of America      



Please leave a comment.

(Just glanced at some comments.  Thanks again for your wonderful remarks.  Remember, I'm NOT retiring.  Don't send me out to pasture yet.)  

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Changes at the Top (Me)

Posted:12/13/2011 7:49 PM

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In 2012, we celebrate the 85th birthday of our company and I proudly celebrate my 60th year of service.  During the past six decades, I have had the privilege to know and work with some of the most talented people in the world.  Our associates have always been my extended family to me, and one of the greatest joys in life has been to see so many find a welcoming place and rewarding opportunities at Marriott.

History hot shoppe Original Color Hot ShoppeIt’s amazing to think about what has been accomplished since that little root beer stand was opened so many years ago by my mom and dad in 1927.  As we look to the future, I can honestly say I have never been more confident about our company. 

In that regard, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that we are well positioned to succeed in the future.  With the support and approval of our Board of Directors, I am excited to announce a change in my role and other changes in our leadership team.

Effective March 31, I will assume the role of Executive Chairman of the company and relinquish the role of Chief Executive Officer. I will remain chairman of our company’s board of directors.  As Executive Chairman, I will continue to share my many years of experience with our senior management team as we pursue future growth.  My energies will also be directed at reinforcing the timeless core values that have been the bedrock of our success. I still plan on visiting a lot of our hotels and continuing to be a company ambassador as we build opportunity throughout the world.  

ArneSorensonJWMjr 7:2008I am particularly pleased to announce that Arne Sorenson has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer by the Board, also effective March 31. There is no one more deserving or capable of assuming the role at this important juncture in the company’s history.  Arne knows the business, lives our core values and has the respect and admiration of all of the company’s major stakeholders.  I have the utmost confidence in Arne as I hand over the day-to-day reins of the business to him.   

I personally recruited Arne to Marriott in 1996 after working extensively with him in the early 1990’s on the split that created what are now called Marriott International and Host Hotels & Resorts.  His success would appear to have come easily, but Arne complemented his wonderful talent with good old-fashioned hard work, team-play and a drive for results.  By 1998, he had become our Chief Financial Officer and later added responsibility for overseeing our business in Europe.  In 2009, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer.  As his supervisor, mentor and friend, I could not be happier for him or more pleased for our company.

Bob McCarthyI am also delighted to announce that Bob McCarthy has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer for Marriott International, effective March 31.  In this role, Bob will continue to have oversight for Global Lodging Services and The Ritz-Carlton Hotels.  Our Continent Presidents will also have a reporting line to Bob in addition to their primary reporting relationship to Arne.

As a 35-year veteran of the company, Bob has made significant contributions to our growth and performance and has distinguished himself with his business leadership and stewardship of our company culture. His career, which began as a restaurant waiter, is a tribute to the opportunity that is possible at Marriott.  I am proud and pleased to announce this significant career milestone.

I am excited by all that Arne and Bob will bring to their new roles and am pleased to continue our great partnership.  I ask that you join me in congratulating them and wishing success to all of us in our new roles.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.


Posted:12/17/2011 12:04 PM

Thanks for all the warm comments. I must correct a misunderstanding. I'm NOT RETIRING. I'll be Executive Chairman concentrating on growth and promoting tourism. I'll explain more in future blogs. HAPPY HOLIDAYS - Bill.

P.S. You may enjoy watching a video excerpt of our HQ rally:


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"Cake Boss" & Marriott Share Recipe For Success

Posted:12/12/2011 5:29 PM

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Please take a look at the two pictures below.  One is a picture of our original Hot Shoppe in 1927.  The other is Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J. which opened in 1910.  Don’t they look a lot alike?  

Hot Shoppe and Cake Boss
Buddy Valastro is much more of a character than my father.  He’s also a reality TV star. The TLC television show is called “Cake Boss” and Buddy’s the boss.  There are a lot of colorful moments working in Buddy’s bakery with members of his family.  Even with all the drama, what comes out of the oven is a thing of beauty.   

Our Marriott guests can now taste Buddy's cakes for free when they book a wedding or a special event.  Our hotels in the area are partnering with Buddy Valastro, the star of TLC's “Cake Boss,” until the end of February.  Just like on the TV show, you can go behind-the-scenes to Carlo’s Bake Shop to have a free consultation.  Find out when they’re shooting their next episode and go then. 

I know how tough it is to run a bakery.  I started out in the kitchen and learned a lot of valuable lessons.  But it all comes down to customer service.  Carlo’s Bake Shop knows a thing or two about that. If you’ve ever seen one of their cakes you can feel the passion that they bring to each design.  That’s why people stand in line for hours to reach the counter.

Buddy, thanks for being such a great partner and giving people so much joy and happiness. We both come from families whose businesses and traditions go way back, but I think you’d agree: “the more things change, the more they sort of stay the same.”  These two pictures are certainly proof of that.   

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move. 

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Two Focused Companies

Posted:12/05/201111:34 AM

Today it’s exciting to know that we can devote all of our attention to managing and franchising our lodging brands. With the spinoff of our timeshare unit, we’re now closer to a pure lodging company than we’ve ever been before.  Which, in my opinion, is where we ought to be.   MVW logo

A new public company has been created, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, and it’s poised for terrific growth.

The Marriott name will remain above the door.  The company will be led by Steve Weisz, a nearly 40 year Marriott veteran.  My daughter, Debbie, sits on the board and the past president and the vice-chairman of Marriott International, Bill Shaw, is chairman of the Marriott Vacations Worldwide Board.  So there’s a lot of good leadership in place.

This move creates the leading stand-alone vacation ownership business.  And I’m confident they’ll do a great job managing our Marriott and Ritz-Carlton brands in the timeshare business.


Lodging is a tremendous business.  And managing and franchising a growing portfolio of outstanding brands plays to our strength.  Our business strategy should not only deliver terrific growth but should also provide a much higher return on investment.  

In 1927, Marriott started as a root beer stand.  Over the years we’ve changed with the marketplace, seized great opportunities and continued to evolve.  

Today, we are focused on managing and franchising the finest lodging brands in the world and we’re really well positioned as we enter this new and exciting era for our company.  

I also want to wish Steve Weisz and his team great success in their new Marriott Vacations Worldwide company.  

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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I'm Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International.

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