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Diversity Leadership: Arne Sorenson, Marriott International

Diversity Leadership: Marriott's Arne SorensonArne Sorenson
President and CEO
Marriott International

“Hospitality is by definition a diverse industry,” Arne Sorenson said while accepting the award for DiversityInc Top Company for Supplier Diversity in 2012. In the past year, visitors to the United States from Mexico, Brazil and China have nearly doubled, he said, adding, “we need to be prepared to welcome this next generation of travelers.”

Marriott’s D&I practices have positioned the company to do just that.  “At Marriott, putting people first and embracing differences has always been the cornerstone to our success,” Sorenson says on the company’s web site. “We are passionate in our efforts to remove barriers and create an inclusive environment that leads to opportunities for others to contribute and grow.”

Sorenson ties executive compensation to diversity metrics and chairs the company’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council. He also sits on the Committee for Excellence and co-founded the Global Sustainability Council. In 2008, he launched a rainforest preservation partnership with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation in Brazil.

His previous roles at Marriott include Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and President of Continental European Lodging. Before joining Marriott in 1996, Sorenson was a mergers-and-acquisitions litigation attorney at Latham & Watkins, a law firm in Washington, D.C.

Sorenson received his undergraduate degree from Luther College in Iowa and his juris doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School. He is a regent of Luther College and a member of the board of directors of Brand USA (appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce). He lives in Chevy Chase, Md., with his wife and four children.