Marriott International's board of directors have appointed Tony Capuano as CEO and Stephanie Linnartz as president, following the unexpected passing of president and CEO Arne Sorenson last week. The two longtime Marriott executives had been handling Sorenson's day-to-day operational duties since he reduced his schedule earlier this month. Sorenson passed away while undergoing more intensive treatment for pancreatic cancer, which he had been battling since May 2019.
Capuano was most recently group president of global development, design and operations services, and Linnartz was group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses. Both have long been a part of Marriott's leadership team: Capuano has been with the company for 25 years and Linnartz for 23.
“Tony has played a critical role in Marriott’s growth over the last decade,” said J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., executive chair and chair of the board of Marriott International. “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,” he said.
The 55-year-old Capuano referred to his appointment as a bittersweet moment. "Arne was a mentor, a champion and a friend to each member of his close-knit leadership team," he said. "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.”
Since Capuano began overseeing the company's global development efforts in 2009, Marriott international grew from 3,200 properties to more than 7,600, with 498,000 rooms in the pipeline by the end of 2020. Capuano also led the company's work on the Commitment to Clean initiative that was launched last year.
A graduate of the hotel administration program at Cornell University, Capuano began his Marriott career as a member of the market planning and feasibility team, leading development efforts in the Western United States and Canada. As he moved up in the ranks, his regional responsibility expanded, and he became executive vice president and global chief development officer in 2009.
In her role as president, Stephanie Linnartz will be responsible for developing and executing the company's global consumer strategy, including brand, marketing, sales, revenue management, customer engagement, digital strategy, information technology, emerging businesses and loyalty strategies. She will also oversee the global development organization, which is responsible for the strategic growth of all 30 brands, as well as global design and operations services. In this wide-ranging role, Linnartz also will head up issues such as the intersection of technology and hospitality, the growth of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program 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 Bill 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, 52, played a pivotal role in Marriott's acquisition of Starwood, overseeing the integration of business-critical systems such as reservations, property management, revenue management and loyalty. She served as global chief commercial officer from 2013 to 2019, and previously held leadership positions in sales, revenue management, marketing, finance and business development.
“Every member of the leadership team feels a profound sense of loss at Arne’s passing," said Linnartz. "He was not just a friend and a leader for us, he was a guidepost for the hospitality industry. The best way we can honor Arne’s memory is to continue to move the company forward.”