Marriott International has announced that longtime senior executive Dave Grissen will retire after 36 at the hospitality group.
Grissen (pictured above), who has been leading Marriott’s Americas business for the past 11 years, will step down from his role towards the end of the year, before retiring in the first quarter of 2021.
Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorensen said it was hard for him to picture the company without Grissen.
“Dave is the consummate strategist with the mind of an operator. He is as equally skilled at driving successful implementation as he is at looking over the horizon to identify that next, new idea,” he said.
“Perhaps his most important legacy is the work he has done to champion leadership training and the impact that had developing new leaders and driving performance at our hotels across the region.
Sorensen revealed that he started talking to Grissen about his potential retirement last year.
“We knew we would need time to prepare for transition,” he said.
“Dave will be fully engaged with us until he steps out of his current role, which allows us to begin the work necessary to be able to fill the void he will leave.”
Marriott has also announced plans for the company’s lodging operations to be consolidated under two veteran Marriott execs after Grissen steps down.
Under this plan, Liam Brown will take on the role of group president for North America, and Craig Smith will take on the role of group president for the company’s international operations.
Brown is currently Marriott’s group president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while Smith is working as its group president for the Asia-Pacific region.
“The changes we are making will help define a new era for our organisation – one that will accelerate our global aspirations,” Sorenson said.
“We are lucky to have such a deep executive bench to draw from. Both Craig and Liam are superbly talented and will bring tremendous experience to these roles.”
In addition, the company announced that J.W. Marriott, Jr. plans to transition to the role of chairman emeritus in 2022.
In anticipation of that event, the company expects David Marriott, currently president of US full service at Managed by Marriott, will join the board of directors in 2021.
Should David Marriott join the board, the company expects he will step down as an executive of the company at that time, in anticipation of assuming the position of chairman.
“David is well-suited to join our board and I know he will bring not only his operations and sales experience, but also his deep understanding of Marriott’s culture to board-level conversation and decision-making,” Sorenson said.