By Sherrif Karamat
Arne M. Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, passed away on Feb. 15. He had reduced his schedule earlier in the month to facilitate more demanding treatment for pancreatic cancer.
We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Arne. This is truly a loss for the hospitality and business events community. We extend our deepest sympathies to Arne’s family and his colleagues at Marriott.
Arne accomplished a great deal during his too-short time at the helm of Marriott. He will be remembered for his thought leadership and dedication to the industry, and to causes he cared about, including DEI, sustainability, and to increasing awareness of human trafficking.
Marriott has been a long-time friend and supporter of PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). Under Arne’s leadership, Marriott has been an Uber partner since 2019, with the primary objective of supporting innovation, education, and research in the meetings and conventions industry. Marriott partnered with the PCMA Foundation on the “The Future of Business Events” study, which was released at 2019 Convening Leaders, and offered insights on key trends for the industry. The following year, Marriott partnered with the PCMA Foundation again on another research series, “Beyond ROI … to ROE (Return On Events): Measuring the Impact of Business Events,” released in December.
Most recently, Marriott International and the Gaylord Rockies Resort hosted 100 attendees for an in-person event as part of PCMA Convening Leaders 2021, to demonstrate how events can take place safely in the current pandemic environment.
In addition, Marriott has been an in-kind sponsor providing meals for volunteers for more than 10 years during Convening Leaders Hospitality Helping Hands program.
We join the rest of the travel, hospitality, and events industry in mourning Arne’s loss.
Sherrif Karamat is President and Chief Executive Officer of Professional Convention Management Association based in Chicago.