PHOENIX, Arizona—Harry Javer, producer and founder of The Lodging Conference, one of the industry’s events for hotel owners, CEOs, and deal makers, announced that Arne Sorenson, the beloved former president and CEO of Marriott International, has been selected posthumously as the recipient of the 2021 Above and Beyond Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented at The Lodging Conference on September 29, 2021.
The Above and Beyond Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has provided outstanding, life-long contributions to the hospitality industry. Past recipients include Minaz Abji, executive vice president, Host Hotels & Resorts; Jack DeBoer, chairman, Value Place; Tom Corcoran, president and CEO, TCOR Hotel Partners; Patrick H. Ford, chairman, CEO, and founder, Lodging Econometrics and New England Hotel Realty; John Q. Hammons, founder, chairman, and CEO, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts; Michael Leven, chairman and CEO, Georgia Aquarium, and former president and COO, Las Vegas Sands Corp.; Joe McInerney, president and CEO, McInerney Hospitality International; Gary Mendell, CEO and founder, Shatterproof; Leland C. Pillsbury, co-chairman and CEO, Thayer Lodging Group; Hasmukh (H.P.) Rama, CEO and chairman of the board, JHM Hotels; Randy Smith, chairman and founder, STR; Jonathan M. Tisch, co-chairman of the board and a member of the Office of the President of Loews Corporation, and chairman and CEO of its subsidiary, Loews Hotels & Co.
Sorenson was a leader of vision, compassion, and achievement. He joined Marriott in 1996 and held a number of positions before serving as president and chief operating officer. He was elected to Marriott’s Board of Directors in 2011. In 2012, he became the third CEO in Marriott’s history, a position he held until his passing in February 2021, and was the first person to hold the post without the Marriott family name.
Sorenson led the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016, resulting in an expansion of Marriott’s ability to provide guest experiences around the world. An outspoken corporate leader, Sorenson advocated for environmental sustainability, human rights, diversity, and inclusion. Under his tenure, Marriott was recognized extensively, including by Fortune in 2020 as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies and by Diversity Inc as one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. In 2019, Sorenson was named CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine and was placed on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Innovative Leaders and Barron’s list of World’s Best CEOs.
Sorenson was active on multiple boards. He joined the Microsoft board of directors in November 2017. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Business Roundtable, serving as chair of its Health and Retirement Committee, co-chair of its COVID-19 Taskforce, and as a member of its Special Committee on Racial Equity and Justice. He served on the board of trustees for The Brookings Institution and the board of directors for The Special Olympics and The Warrior-Scholar Project.
“Arne was one of the most caring, thoughtful, and innovative leaders of our lifetime. He loved the hotel industry and is deeply missed by friends, colleagues, and associates around the world,” said Javer. “Arne’s optimism, advocacy, and inclusiveness lifted the entire hospitality community and made all of us better. With heavy hearts, we invite you to join us this September as we celebrate Arne’s legacy.”