Marriott International has announced that Anthony Capuano has been appointed chief executive and Stephanie Linnartz as president of the company following the unexpected passing of Arne Sorenson on 15 February.
Former president and chief executive Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and earlier this month the group said he was temporarily stepping back to undergo more demanding treatment. The group announced Sorenson's passing last week. He was 62.
Capuano was previously group president of global development, design and operations services, while Linnartz was group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses.
"Tony has played a critical role in Marriott's growth over the last decade," said executive chairman and chairman of the board JW Marriott Jr.
"He will be a terrific leader as we continue to advance our growth strategy while also navigating the market dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic. He works thoughtfully and pragmatically with our owner and franchisee community and has been steadfast in ensuring Marriott delivers operational excellence and elevated customer experiences at our properties.
"Tony has a deep appreciation for Marriott's thousands of associates who ultimately deliver on our customer and brand promise and I know he will be a superb steward of our culture. Together with Stephanie in the role of president, and the rest of our exceptional leadership team, Marriott could not be in better hands."
Capuano began his Marriott career in 1995 as part of the market planning and feasibility team. Between 1997 and 2005, he led Marriott's full-service development efforts in the western US and Canada. From 2005 to 2008, he served as senior vice-president of full-service development for North America. In 2008, his responsibilities expanded to include all of the US and Canada and the Caribbean and Latin America, and he became executive vice-president and global chief development officer in 2009.
He said: "I am honoured to be appointed to take the helm of Marriott, but it is a bittersweet moment. Arne was a mentor, a champion and a friend to each member of his close-knit leadership team. It is because of Arne's efforts that we are prepared to move forward with this transition. Together, we will advance the strategy we have in place, which is laser-focused on recovery, expansion, providing opportunities for our associates, maintaining constructive relationships with our owners and franchisees, delivering safe and innovative experiences for our guests and customers, and building value for our shareholders."
As president, Linnartz will be responsible for developing and executing all aspects of the company's global consumer strategy. In addition, she will oversee Marriott's global development organisation, which is responsible for the strategic growth of the company's 30 lodging brands, as well as the global design and operations services functions.
Linnartz will also spearhead the company's progress on issues including the intersection of technology and hospitality, the continued growth of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty platform and environmental sustainability.
"Stephanie has a leadership track record and clear vision for how our core lodging business, travel platform initiatives and loyalty strategies can work together to accelerate growth," said Marriott.
"Her deep experience across our business will enable her to work seamlessly with our owners and franchisees, innovate for our guests and customers, and champion new opportunities for our associates. Tony and Stephanie are exactly the CEO and president we need as we continue to push forward towards recovery and growth in the years ahead."
Linnartz played a pivotal role during Marriott's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, overseeing the integration of systems including reservations, property management, revenue management and loyalty. In 2019, under her leadership, the company combined the Marriott and Starwood loyalty programmes to create the world's largest hospitality loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, which has more than 147 million members.
"Every member of the leadership team feels a profound sense of loss at Arne's passing. He was not just a friend and a leader for us, he was a guidepost for the hospitality industry," said Linnartz.
"The best way we can honour Arne's memory is to continue to move the company forward. It is my privilege to take on the role of president and to work with Tony and the rest of the executive team to ensure a seamless transition and to successfully execute our strategy."
Linnartz began her Marriott career in 1997 and held various roles in Marriott's finance and business development department. She has served as global chief commercial officer from 2013 to 2019; global officer, sales and revenue management 2009-2013; senior vice-president, global sales 2008-9; and senior vice-president, sales and marketing planning and support 2005-2008.