Marriott International announced that long-time senior executive Dave Grissen has decided to step down from his position as group president, the Americas, at the end of 2020 and retire from Marriott in the first quarter of 2021. Grissen, who has been with the 36 years—11 of which in his current role—oversees all of the Americas’ lodging business comprising more than 5,640 properties and a work force of 160,000 people.
Grissen leads all aspects of the company’s biggest region, the Americas, which generates over two-thirds of the company’s fee revenues. Under Grissen’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 luxury brands, EDITION.
Grissen started with the company as a division controller and has held a number of positions during his tenure with Marriott including SVP of finance and business development; SVP of the mid-Atlantic region and EVP of the Eastern region.
Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, said in a statement, “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.” Sorensen added that Girssen's "most important legacy is the work he has done to champion leadership training."
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.
Brown is currently group president, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). A 30-year Marriott veteran, Brown has spent the majority of his career working in the U.S. Prior to taking over leadership of the EMEA region, Brown was president, Europe, and prior to that, president, select brands and owner and franchise services, North America. The company’s Canadian operations will remain part of the North American portfolio under Brown.
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 and Africa and Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) regions. Smith, a 32-year Marriott veteran, is currently group president, Asia Pacific. Prior to his current role, Smith spent two and a half years leading the company’s CALA region.
In addition, the company is announcing that J.W. Marriott, Jr. plans to transition to the role of chairman emeritus in 2022. In anticipation of that event, the company expects that David Marriott, currently president, U.S. full service, managed by Marriott, will join the company’s 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 of the board.