Marriott’s Executive Chairman on Choosing the First Nonfamily CEO

by Bill Marriott

Bill Marriott is the executive chairman of Marriott International and the author (with Kathi Ann Brown) of Without Reservations: How a Family Root Beer Stand Grew Into a Global Hotel Company (Luxury Custom Publishing, 2013).

The Idea

For decades Bill Marriott expected that his son would become the third generation to lead the global hotel company. But gradually he realized that he had to make a different choice.

When I became the head of Marriott, in 1964, many people were surprised. I was only 32 and had worked at the company full-time for just eight years. My father, who’d started the business in 1927 with a root beer stand in Washington, DC, before moving ...

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