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J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr.    

Executive Chairman & Chairman of the Board of Marriott International

J.W. Marriott, Jr. is Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., one of the world's largest lodging companies. He was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for 40 years, before stepping down on March 31, 2012. His leadership spans nearly 60 years, and he has taken Marriott from a family restaurant business to a global lodging company with more than 4,200 properties in 80 countries and territories.

Known throughout the industry for his hands-on management style, Mr. Marriott has built a highly regarded culture that emphasizes the importance of Marriott’s people and recognizes the value they bring to the organization. Today, there are approximately 365,000 employees at the company’s headquarters and other offices, and at managed and franchised property locations.

At an early age, Mr. Marriott developed a passion for the business and worked in a variety of positions in the Hot Shoppes restaurant chain during his high school and college years. He joined the company full-time in 1956 and soon afterward, took over management of Marriott’s first hotel. Mr. Marriott became executive vice president of the company, then its president, in 1964. He was elected chief executive officer in 1972, and chairman of the board in 1985.

Regarded as a lodging innovator, Mr. Marriott began shifting the company’s business model in the late 1970s from hotel ownership to property management and franchising. His strategic decision allowed the company to accelerate its growth and broaden its leadership position. That transformation culminated in the company’s split in 1993 into Marriott International, a hotel management and franchising company, headed by Mr. Marriott, and Host Marriott International, a hotel ownership company chaired by his brother, Richard Marriott.

Mr. Marriott has also worked to compile the greatest portfolio of lodging brands, ranging from limited service to luxury hotels and resorts. Today, Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, AC Hotels by Marriott, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; licenses and manages whole-ownership residential brands, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences, JW Marriott Residences and Marriott Residences; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers.

Mr. Marriott serves on the board of The J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation. He is a member of the National Business Council and the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Mr. Marriott served on the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society, as director of the United States Naval Academy Foundation, chairman of the President’s Export Council (PEC) and a member of the Secure Borders Open Doors Advisory Committee (SBODAC) and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). He also recently served as chairman of the Mayo Clinic Capital Campaign.

Mr. Marriott attended St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., earned a B.S. degree in banking and finance from the University of Utah and served as an officer in the United States Navy. He is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. He is married to the former Donna Garff. They have four children, 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.


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The 83-year-old hotel icon discussed a broad range of topics, like leadership and Millennials, but he started out with the story of his company, which his father founded as a root beer shop in DC back in 1927...

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