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“[Arne Sorenson] had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was heading and position Marriott for growth.”

JW Marriott Jr Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson passes away

It was with profound sadness that Marriott International announced the passing of Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and CEO, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2019. In February 2021 Sorenson reduced his schedule to further prioritise his treatment.

Sorenson became the first CEO appointed to the position without the Marriott surname in 2012. He was renowned for his relentless pursuit of progress and dependable leadership skills. Dedicated to promoting greater diversity, equity, inclusion, environmental

sustainability and human trafficking awareness, he successfully oversaw the group’s $13bn acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in November 2015. “Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that, he was an exceptional human being,” said JW Marriott Jr, executive chairman and chairman of the board. “Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was heading and position Marriott for growth.”

Accor plans staff vaccination programme

Europe’s largest hotel chain has announced plans to pay for all of its employees to be vaccinated. French multinational hospitality company Accor said it aims to ensure that all of its staff are vaccinated by late summer to bolster its recovery plans.

Accor recorded a €2bn net loss in 2020 after revenues fell 60% due to disruption caused by the pandemic. The group has already vaccinated workers in Singapore

and Dubai, but says it would not make vaccinations mandatory despite funding a staff vaccination programme. According to the Financial Times,

Accor’s chief executive Sébastien Bazin said: “We are not going to wait for the government. We will be buying our own vaccines if we can get them, but we don’t want to do it [by taking] from existing government programmes… It should not be taking away from fragile people.”

Meliá closer to decarbonisation goals after being named world’s most sustainable hotel company

Meliá Hotels International has unveiled an ambitious project to help combat climate change and decarbonise the hotel industry. The initiative, which was submitted to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, proposes a €129m investment to help boost the hotel group’s decarbonisation strategy and reduce its environmental footprint to zero.

A key component of the scheme involves the creation of a prototype for a sustainable hotel in the iconic Biosphere Reserve in Menorca. At present, almost 60% of the electrical energy consumed by Meliá Hotels worldwide is renewable energy,


with the figure rising to 100% in Spain. In 2020 Meliá was named by the Wall Street Journal as the world’s most sustainable hotel group and the seventh best company in the world for sustainable management. “We do not aspire to be among the largest companies in the world, but we do aspire to be a good company for the planet,” Gabriel Escarrer, the company’s executive vice president and CEO, explained. “And that means we have to manage the resources within our reach in a sustainable way, guaranteeing a balance between our growth, environmental protection and social welfare”.

Sorenson leaves behind a wife and four children. He is replaced as CEO by Tony Capuano, former group president for global development, design and operations services. Meanwhile, Stephanie Linnartz has been appointed president with immediate effect. The Marriott-Sorenson Centre for Hospitality Leadership has been established to reflect Sorenson’s commitment to education within the hospitality sector. “I can think of no better tribute to the amazing legacy of Arne Sorenson than to focus on educating and advancing future leaders of the hospitality industry,” Marriott said.

€129m Meliá Hotels International

Calls for a specialist UK minister for hospitality

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responded to widespread calls for a minister for hospitality after a petition signed by almost 200,000 people called for a designated government minister to focus directly on the hospitality sector. The prime minister confirmed that Paul Scully, minister for small business, consumers and labour markets, will meet with the team behind the petition.

The campaign, backed by entrepreneurs and chefs including Robin Hutson, Tom Kerridge and Angela Hartnett, argues that the disruption caused the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a lack of specialist leadership in the sector. Hospitality is responsible for five million jobs and contributes £130bn to the country’s economy, yet parliamentary representation is currently split between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Hotel Management International /

Cost of Meliá’s project to decarbonise the hotel industry, with support from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism

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