Craig Smith to Become Marriott’s Group President


Dave Grissen, Marriott International’s Group
President for the Americas, has decided to step down from his
position towards the end of 2020 and retire from Marriott in the
first quarter of 2021, after 36 years with the company.

Dave, who has been leading the
company’s Americas business for the past eleven years, oversees
all of the Americas’ lodging business comprising more than 5,640
properties and a work force of 160,000 people.

Dave Grissen. Click to enlarge.

“It’s hard for me to picture a Marriott without
Dave Grissen, someone who has been such an integral part of this
company for so long,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief
Executive Officer, Marriott International. “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. 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. We will
certainly miss Dave, but I know that the next phase of his life
will be as dynamic and meaningful as his extraordinary tenure here
at Marriott.”

Dave leads all aspects of the company’s
biggest region, the Americas, which generates over two-thirds of
the company’s fee revenues.

Under Dave’s leadership, Marriott’s Americas
organization has grown from 2,928 hotels to 5,640 properties
today, with another 1,800 hotels in the pipeline.

He also has global responsibility for one of the
company’s most acclaimed luxury brands, Edition.

started with the company as a division controller and has held a
number of positions during his tenure with Marriott including:
Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Development; Senior
Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic Region; Executive Vice
President of the Eastern Region; President of the Americas; and,
Group President with responsibility for the Americas division and
company-wide areas such as Global Operations.

“Dave and I started talking about his potential
retirement last year, and we knew we would need time to prepare
for transition,” said Mr. Sorenson. “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

Craig Smith. Click to enlarge.

Liam Brown will take on the role of Group President,
North America and Craig S. Smith will take on the role of Group
President, International.

In his new role as Group President, International,
Craig will oversee all non-North American operations for
Marriott including the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa
and Caribbean & Latin America (CALA) regions.

Craig, a 32-year
Marriott veteran, is currently Group President, Asia Pacific.
Prior to his current role, he spent two and a half years
leading the company’s CALA region.

Craig’s experience spans
work on property (he started in housekeeping), in operations and
in staff roles with an international focus – 27 of his 32 years
with Marriott have been spent in international markets.

Liam Brown. Click to enlarge.

Liam is currently Group President, Europe,
Middle East & Africa (EMEA).

A 30-year Marriott veteran, Liam
has spent the majority of his career working in the U.S. Prior to
taking over leadership of the EMEA region, he was President,
Europe, and prior to that, President, Select Brands and Owner and
Franchise Services, North America, and he remains well connected
to the company’s North American owners. The company’s Canadian
operations will remain part of the North American portfolio, under

“The changes we are making will help define a new
era for our organization – one that will accelerate our global
aspirations,” said Mr. Sorenson. “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, Mr. J.W. Marriott, Jr.
plans to transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus in 2022. In
anticipation of that event, the company expects that Mr. David
Marriott, currently President, U.S. Full Service, Managed by
Marriott, will join the company’s Board of Directors in 2021.

David Marriott, who leads the team responsible for more than 320
full service managed hotels in the U.S., started in the company as
a teenager washing dishes and has built his career in regional
operations and sales. Should Mr. 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 of the Board.

“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,” said Mr. Sorenson.

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