Quick facts

Family: Wife: Ruth Marie Sorenson, four children[1]

Age: 53[2]

Born: Tokyo, Japan[3]

Current residence: Chevy Chase, MD, 20815[4]

In February of 2012, activists with Jobs with Justice and “Shareholder Spring” attempted to visit Mr. Sorenson in his office.   The group “call[ed] on Mr. Sorenson to meet with members of Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) and to ask Walmart board chair Rob Walton and CEO Mike Duke to do the same.”[5]

Wealth

Corporate pay

Sorenson’s 2011 compensation package from Marriott was worth $6.3 million.

He also was paid $235,000 in 2011 for being on Walmart’s Board of Directors.

Educational and professional background

Education

  • Luther College (Decorah, Iowa): BA, Religion (1980)[6]
  • University of Minnesota Law School: JD (1983)[7]

Professional life

Marriott International: Chief Executive Office:  Mr. Sorenson is the Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. Sorenson is the first CEO from outside the Marriott family in the company’s history.[8] He is also a member of Marriott’s Board of Directors, having joined the Board in 2011.[9]

Previous positions with Marriott International: Sorenson joined Marriott in 1996 as Senior VP of Business Development, and he became Executive VP and CFO in 1998, adding on the title of President of Continental European Lodging in 2003. In 2009, he was named President and COO.[10] In 2011, he was appointed to Marriott’s Board of Directors.[11] Sorenson is the co-chair of Marriott’s Green Council, intended to integrate environmental sustainability into the company’s business strategy.[12] He was an important part of Marriott’s acquisition of Renaissance Hotel Group in 1997.[13]

Previous positions

Latham & Watkins: Partner (1992-1996, Washington, DC).[14] Specialized in mergers and acquisitions litigation.[15]

Corporate boards

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: Independent Director (2008-present)[16]
  • Marriott Board of Directors (2011-present)

Political giving

According to OpenSecrets.org, Mr. Sorenson and his wife Ruth have given roughly $62,000 in political contributions since 1994.The Sorensons appear to have fairly closely split their contributions between Democrats and Republicans.

The Sorensons’ total contributions also include $35,000 in contributions to the Political Action Committee of Marriott International, the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the US Travel Association.[17] Traditionally, the Marriott PAC has favored Republicans, but saw an even party split in 2010 between Democrats and Republicans.[18] The American Hotel and Lodging Association PAC has historically favored Republicans.[19]

Sorenson has been supportive of Republican presidential candidates John McCain[20] and former Marriott Board of Directors member Mitt Romney.[21]

Sorenson was a vocal opponent of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made it easier for workers to join unions. In an article in The Economist, Sorenson was reported to have stated that non-union Marriotts are 10% more profitable than union facilities and that he was worried that the usually non-English-speaking female housekeepers at Marriott would be intimidated by the “tall, articulate union man” asking them to sign cards if EFCA passed.[22]

Community connections

  • Luther College: Board of Regents Member[23]

 


[2] Nexis public records search

[4] Nexis public records search

[9] http://news.marriott.com/arne-m-sorenson.html

[20] http://www.nndb.com/people/666/000231970/; “Marriott announces Board Changes.” Hospitality-Industry.com. Jan. 12, 2011. Accessed 7.11.11. http://www.hospitality-industry.com/index.php/news/comments/marriott_announces_board_changes/

[22] “Red Tape and Scissors.” The Economist. May 30, 2009. Nexis, accessed 7.12.11.