Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said Tuesday he doesn't think the company is "going to be in anybody's crosshairs" when it comes to national security concerns, but experts have pointed to China as the likely culprit for the company's cybersecurity breach that affected over 300 million customers.
Sorenson's interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, comes a few months after the company disclosed a massive hack that affected up to 383 million people and included 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers. Marriott originally said up to 500 million customers were affected by the breach, but revised the number down a few weeks later.
Experts have told several outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, that the hospitality industry is a top nation-state target, and the Marriott breach specifically was likely carried out as an intelligence-gathering effort by China's Ministry of State Security.
Sorenson made the statement Tuesday while addressing increasing tensions with China over trade and legal issues.
"The China story, of course, is a little bit complicated, because we've got the trade and we've got a number of very high-profile events that have happened," Sorenson said. "The China story is still a very constructive one in the travel space. We're not in a business that is super sensitive from a national security perspective. And I don't think we're going to be in anybody's crosshairs."