BETHESDA, Md. — After 36 years with the company, Marriott International, Inc.’s long-time senior executive Dave Grissen is stepping down from his position as group president, the Americas, toward the end of 2020 and will retire from Marriott in the first quarter of 2021.
Grissen, 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 workforce of 160,000 people. He also has global responsibility for the company’s EDITION brand.
“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,” says Arne Sorenson, president and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International. “Dave is the consummate strategist with the mind of an operator. He’s 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’s done to champion leadership training and the impact that had developing new leaders and driving performance at our hotels across the region. We’ll certainly miss Dave, but I know the next phase of his life will be as dynamic and meaningful as his extraordinary tenure here at Marriott.”
Grissen started with Marriott as a division controller and has held a number of positions during his tenure with the company including SVP of Finance and Business Development; SVP of the Mid-Atlantic Region; EVP 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.
Marriott also announced plans for the company’s lodging operations to be consolidated under two long-time Marriott leaders after Grissen steps down from his current role. Under this plan, 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, Smith will oversee all non-North American operations for Marriott including the Asia Pacific; Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA); and Caribbean & Latin America (CALA) regions. A 32-year veteran of the company, Smith is currently group president, Asia Pacific, and previously spent more than two years the company’s CALA region.
Brown is a 30-year veteran of the company and is currently group president, EMEA. Prior to taking over leadership of the EMEA region, Brown was president, Europe, and president, Select Brands and Owner and Franchise Services, North America, prior to that.
“The changes we’re making will help define a new era for our organization — one that will accelerate our global aspirations,” says Sorenson. “We’re 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 consultation with Marriott’s board of directors, the company has also announced that J.W. Marriott, Jr. plans to transition to the role of chairman emeritus in 2022. In anticipation of this event, the company expects David Marriott, currently president, U.S. Full Service, Managed by Marriott, to join the company’s board of directors in 2021. Should this occur, it is expected David Marriott 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,” says Sorenson.