“Bill” Marriott, Jr. and his father had a special connection to President Eisenhower who established the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) in 1955 to “inspire, encourage and assist” American business leaders to build international understanding through private initiatives in communities where they operate around the world. Today, he will be named the recipient of the 2017 Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Leadership Award at the 15th annual BCIU Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Awards Gala in New York City.
J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, Marriott International, Inc., was chosen for this award by the BCIU, a non-profit U.S. business association dedicated to forging relationships and promoting dialogue between business and government communities across the globe.
In his book, “Without Reservations,” he says, “Sometimes good listening simply requires keeping your mouth shut,” and that has been a powerful key to his leadership. He goes on to say, “You can’t learn anything when you are doing the talking. If you want a team to support you, to go through fire and brimstone with you, to sacrifice and look up to you as a leader, you’ve got to be able to listen to their opinions, and to be interested in their opinions, because they know more about the subject than you do.”
Mr. Marriott’s leadership of Marriott International spans nearly 60 years, where he led Marriott from a family restaurant business to a global lodging company. In 2016, Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company, now with 6,400+ properties offering more than 1.2 million rooms across 30 brands in 126 countries. Known throughout the industry for his hands-on management style, Mr. Marriott has built a highly regarded company culture that emphasizes the importance of Marriott’s people and recognizes the value they bring to the organization. Mr. Marriott’s leadership has helped to build one of the best portfolio of lodging brands, ranging from select service to luxury hotels and resorts.
Since 2003, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Entrepreneurship Award has been given to business executives who exemplify the definition of an international business leader by exhibiting outstanding contributions to global commerce. Mr. Elumelu extends a distinguished roster of BCIU’s Award recipients, which includes Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chemical; Carlos Slim; Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric; Pele; Mukesh D. Ambani, Reliance Industries; Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal; Go Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines; Masami Iijima, Mitsui & Co.; Marilyn A. Hewson, Lockheed Martin; Klaus Kleinfeld, Arconic; Maurice R. Greenberg, C.V. Starr & Co.; Rotan N. Tata; Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Kingdom Holding Company; Roger Agnelli, Vale S.A.; Lord John Browne, BP; Raymond Gilmartin, Merck & Co. and Lee Raymond, Exon Mobil Corporation.
Things you may not know about Bill
Eighty-five year old”Bill” Marriott, Jr. has guided what was once a family-run root beer stand and restaurant to a global hospitality company. In September 2016, Marriott, Inc., finalized its largest acquisition, Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The company now has more than 6,400 properties across 30 brands in 126 countries and territories.
Mr. Marriott spent his high school and college years working in a variety of positions in the family’s Hot Shoppes restaurant chain. He became a full-time associate employee in 1956, and soon afterward began managing the first Marriott hotel. He became President in 1964, served as Chief Executive Officer from 1972 to 2012, and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1985. Mr. Marriott is known for his hands-on management style, which is built on his parents’ value of putting people first. Referred to as a lodging innovator, Mr. Marriott shifted the company’s business model in the late 1970s from hotel ownership to property management and franchising by splitting the company in 1993 into Marriott International, a hotel management and franchising company and Host Marriott International, a hotel ownership company. His strategic decision allowed the company to accelerate its growth and broaden its leadership position. Today, the Marriott corporate culture continues to emphasize the value that its employees bring to the company.
Mr. Marriott serves on the board of trustees of the J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society. Previously, he was Chairman of the President’s Export Council and a Director of the United States Naval Academy Foundation. He served on the board of General Motors and the Mayo Clinic. Mr. Marriott grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. He earned a Bachelor of Science in banking and finance and later served as an Officer in the United States Navy. Mr. Marriott is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is married to the former Donna Graff. They are the parents of four children and have fifteen grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren.