Travel

Marriott picks veteran Capuano to steer it out of Covid-19 crisis

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Key Points
  • Capuano succeeds Arne Sorenson, who died last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
  • Capuano most recently headed the company's U.S. and Canada lodging business;
  • He takes the reins at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has decimated travel demand, pushing Marriott to its first full-year loss in more than a decade.
Tony Capuano attends The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad Groundbreaking Ceremony by Flag Luxury at NoMad on September 4, 2018 in New York City.
Sylvain Gaboury | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

Marriott on Tuesday named Tony Capuano as its chief executive officer, tasking the 25-year veteran of the world's largest hotel chain with charting a path out of the industry's worst crisis.

Capuano succeeds Arne Sorenson, who died last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer and during whose tenure Marriott struck a $12.2 billion deal to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Capuano, who most recently headed the company's U.S. and Canada lodging business, takes the reins at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has decimated travel demand, pushing Marriott to its first full-year loss in more than a decade.

While hotel occupancy rates have recovered from the lows hit last year, the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus has cast a shadow on the recovery of the hospitality industry.

Analysts expect a wider rollout of Covid-19 vaccines later this year to first aid a rebound in leisure travel, leaving business travel-reliant hotel chains including Marriott and smaller rival Hilton Worldwide struggling for longer.

Marriott also named Stephanie Linnartz, group president, consumer operations, as its president.

"Tony has a deep appreciation for Marriott's thousands of associates who ultimately deliver on our customer and brand promise and I know he will be a superb steward of our culture," Executive Chairman JW Marriott, Jr said in a statement.

Correction: This wire story has been updated to correct the spelling of Tony Capuano's name in some instances.