Marriott Giving CEO Big Raise While Business Craters, Tens Of Thousands Furloughed

Several days ago I wrote that top airline executives ‘giving up their salaries’ are giving up less than most people think. That’s because salaries are only a small portion of senior executive compensation.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that even as Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson announced that he would stop taking his salary through the end of the year, in light of the hotel giant furloughing tens of thousands of workers and the majority of corporate staff amidst the cratering of their business during the coronavirus crisis, he’s actually being given a raise.

It must be all of those resort fees they pocketed, which Sorenson said are good for us. (HT: Loyalty Lobby)

Mr. Sorenson said he was forgoing his salary — $1.3 million annually — for the rest of the year, though he said nothing about his stock-based compensation, which exceeded $8 million last year, or the cash incentive plan that brought him $3.5 million, according to a company statement.

Twelve days later, the company paid its scheduled dividend to shareholders. On April 8, Marriott filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission proposals that its board would present for approval at a meeting of shareholders next month. Among them: a 7.7 percent salary increase for the chief executive, plus a cash bonus of up to 200 percent.

Here’s Sorenson’s 3 year compensation history.

Companies need to retain their top leadership talent. The hardest and most important work can often be done during the toughest times. On the one hand the question is how much better off the company is with the talent they’re rewarding than without it (and compared to their next best alternative). On the other hand it’s difficult to show leadership and rally employees during difficult times when you’re not sharing the pain of tough times.

Now it’s not just customers, but also employees, who will feel Bonvoyed.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Arne was just about to be interviewed on Bloomberg live by David Rubenstein, but the feed didn’t work.

    Perhaps as this new broke …

  2. Darn it! I am a member of a Facebook group in my hometown to help homeless people. I have donated a few room nights and also posted news stories about hotels giving free rooms during COVID-19. Local authorities in near Raleigh/ Durham NC have paid rent on an entire Marriott hotel for 3 months (mid-April to mid-July) @ $80 per room per night to house the homeless during COVID-19! I was so happy to praise Marriott for this, although it also puts a couple $million into their accounts.
    Also, the oh-so-expensive Four Seasons of New York is giving free rooms to doctors, nurses, etc., and the city govt. of Toronto Canada is paying rent on entire hotels to house the homeless!

  3. This raise and his existing salary was relinquished. Stop with the misleading articles.

  4. @ B1BomberVB, why praise Marriott for getting paid to have close to 100% occupancy when most other hotels are struggling with 10% occupancy rate. Instead I should be thanking Wake county and fellow tax payers for coming up with a temporary solution for the homeless.

  5. Good call, ABC! Hotels that donate rooms or rent them at nominal rates, say $10 a night during the pandemic, are the ones to be praised. The officials who are paying that Marriott are the ones who deserve the real praise. That manager should be thankful to them for the income. Of course, some hotel managers would refuse out of concern that SOME of those residents could damage the hotel.
    I guess I just latched on to reporting a positive development that is happening AT a Marriott.

  6. Marriott has developed its own virus: CO-MAR20. Its genetic recipe incorporates a mindset of greed and profit before people. “CO” stands not only for COrporation but also COrruption, COllusion, COvetousness, COver-up, COldheartedness and COn. The symptoms are now making themselves felt; communities and employees have never had it so bad! “Our business relies on integrity and good judgement” JWMarriott Jr

  7. This article makes sense especially when you consider all the employees that went on strike last year about low pay and lack of benefits for Marriott employees!

Comments are closed.