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Arne Sorenson To Succeed Marriott Jr. As Marriott International CEO

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Hotel chain operator Marriott International, Inc. (MAR: Quote) elected Tuesday J.W. Marriott, Jr. as the executive chairman and chairman of the board, and promoted its President and Chief Operating Officer Arne Sorenson to president and chief executive officer. Sorenson succeeds Marriott, Jr. while taking over as the company's third CEO in its history.

"To achieve that growth, the right leadership is critical. That's why I am enormously pleased that Arne will become CEO. I can say that there is no one more deserving or capable of assuming this role at such an important point in our company's history," Marriott Jr. said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company, which celebrates its 85th birthday in 2012, also promoted Robert McCarthy, currently Group President of The Americas and Global Lodging Services at Marriott, to succeed Sorenson as the new chief operating officer. He also served as president of North American Lodging operations at Marriott, with additional responsibility for sales and marketing and brand management. He is a 35-year veteran of the company, beginning as a Marriott restaurant waiter.

The company noted that the three appointments are effective March 31, 2012.

Marriott, Jr. has served as Marriott International's chairman since 1985 and CEO since 1972. His leadership spans more than 50 years, and he has taken Marriott from a family restaurant business with a small root beer stand to a global lodging company. He also served as the president of Marriott International from 1964 to 2009. He joined the then Marriott Corp. in 1956.

Sorenson, who succeeds Marriott, Jr. as CEO, has served as president and chief operating officer of Marriott International since May 2009. He joined Marriott in 1996 as senior vice president of business development and was later named executive vice president and CFO in 1998. He also served as the president of Continental European Lodging at Marriott since January 2003.

Sorenson has been director of Marriott International since February 2011, and has been an independent director of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. since June 2008. Prior to joining Marriott in 1996, Sorenson was a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions litigation.

"Having personally recruited Arne to Marriott in 1996, I know that his success is related not only to his extraordinary talent, but is also due to his commitment to hard work, team play, and drive for results. His path through our company included roles as chief financial officer, later adding oversight of European operations, before being appointed in 2009 as president and chief operating officer. As his mentor and friend, I could not be more pleased, for him or for our company," Marriott Jr. added.

MAR closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $28.84, down $0.82 or 2.76% on a volume of 4.66 million shares. However, the stock pared part of the loss and was up $0.59 or 2.05% in after-hours trading.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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