Skift Take

Marriott keeps growing despite a drop in earnings this quarter. CEO Arne Sorenson is optimistic, even as he prepares for surgery to treat his pancreatic cancer. Sorenson isn't missing his morning workouts, and said he would be healthy for the next earnings call in 2020.

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said Tuesday he will have surgery for pancreatic cancer over the holidays but will continue to run the company.

The head of the largest hotel company in the world, after acquiring Starwood Hotels and Resorts, has been battling pancreatic cancer.

He offered the update to investors and analysts during a third quarter earnings call, saying that he has completed key elements of treatment but will require more.

“I’ve completed chemo radiation and immunotherapy over the last six months,” he said on Tuesday. “Next step is surgery. I’ve been working throughout, and I’m still getting in my morning runs.”

He said he would skip the company holiday party but would return in time for the next earnings call: “I’m sorry I’ll have to miss our upcoming holiday party in New York,” he said. “But (I) expect to be with you on the next earnings call in February and look forward to seeing many of you in person in 2020.”

Sorenson did not disclose anymore details about his surgery. His public relations team did not elaborate on his condition.

Marriott announced in May that Sorenson had stage 2 pancreatic cancer. At the time, the 60-year-old said that the cancer was diagnosed early.

“It does not appear to have spread and the medical team — and I — are confident that we can realistically aim for a complete cure,” he said in May. “In the meantime, I intend to continue working at the company I love.”

His doctors had anticipated surgery would happen at the end of this year.

Sorenson’s treatment plan will begin next week with chemotherapy. His doctors anticipate surgery near year end 2019.

Earnings Miss

Third-quarter earnings were down. Marriott posted net income of $387 million, a 23 percent decrease from the same time last year. The adjusted net income was $488 million, an 18 percent drop from the past year. During the quarter, Marriott had a pipeline of 2,950 hotels and about 495,000 rooms in development.

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Tags: Arne Sorenson, marriott

Photo credit: Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen, seen here two years ago at the World Travel & Tourism Council gathering, said he was optimistic about his cancer prognosis. World Travel & Tourism Council /

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