Marriott’s CEO Has Pancreatic Cancer

Marriott announced that their CEO Arne Sorenson has stage 2 pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is asymptomatic in the early stages so it’s incredible that it was caught at this point. I imagine Sorenson receives regular executive physicals.

Sorenson, 60, received the diagnosis from a medical team at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after a series of tests. Sorenson will remain in his role while undergoing treatment.

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

Sorenson says “the medical team – and I – are confident that we can realistically aim for a complete cure.”

Whether a Marriott customer or not, a great reminder of the trivial things we so often focus on and the things that are truly important. Since my daughter was born last year I’ve become far more sensitive to how short life is, how quickly it moves, and the importance of living every moment.

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. Seeing him interviewed on tv I’m struck by how fit and healthy he looks for his age. Certainly wish him well for his treatment and recovery.

  2. While I am admittedly not thrilled with the direction he has taken the rewards program and all the technical glitches this is indeed a serious matter and I wish him a speedy and complete recovery. No doubt he sounds ready for the challenges that lay before him.

  3. @Bill

    Executive physicals have nothing to do with health insurance. The employer normally foots the entire cost, and even for self-funded plans, they are typically processed outside of the insurance framework.

    My previous employer offered a one-time free trial of an executive physical for every single employee, no mater what grade. It was a glorious experience; despite taking up the entire day (though you still get paid for that day of course), it felt like it was over in an instant. The service was incredible, as was the food. Pretty much the only time I ever enjoyed a medical appointment.

  4. I wish him the best in his medical treatment. It is nice to hear that they seem to have caught his pancreatic cancer rather early on.

    Late stage pancreatic cancer is often missed until it’s too late, but it tends to be one of the least painful cancer-caused deaths (which is also one of the reasons it is often missed until it’s too late to have much of any chance for anything but palliative care).

  5. GUWonder is correct that pancreatic cancer is rarely caught early, which is one of the reasons it’s so deadly. Only a quarter of those diagnosed will live more than a year and the five-year survival rate in only 9%. Wishing Arne well!

  6. GUWonder is correct that pancreatic cancer is rarely caught early, which is one of the reasons it’s so deadly. Only 24% of those diagnosed live more than a year and the five-year survival rate in only 9%. Wishing Arne well!

  7. +1 All the above wishes for Mr. Sorenson’s complete & speedy recovery!

  8. @Jay-What tests/services are provided at an Executive Physical that wouldn’t be included in a regular physical? I’m guessing the tests are more in-depth for them to have caught this so early on. I lost a dear friend many years ago to pancreatic cancer and it was less than a month from diagnosis to death, around three weeks. It seems that way with nearly every case I’ve heard of and I have never heard of anyone but Patrick Swayze who lived more than a few months at most. It is a sneaky, sad disease and I wish this man success in his healing.

  9. Just to note folks: caught early does not mean long term survival. Only about 1 in 7 stage 2 patients live to 5 years after diagnosis.

  10. What’s this about stage 1, 2, 3, etc. I thought that stage 3 of one cancer can have a very different outcome than stage 3 of another type of cancer. This stage thing is non-sense, I believe.

  11. May he be blessed with individual shampoo containers if he is in a hospital for that is not what Marriott provides in hotels. Get well soon! Get rid of the multi-guest, urine prone large group prone shampoo containers when you get better!

  12. We can wish him a speedy recovery on a personal level while simultaneously denouncing the new customer experience at Marriott on a professional level.

  13. Derek…it’s correct that staging of disease can vary among cancers, but that’s because different cancers have different characteristics. I’ve had stage 3 prostate cancer, which is clearly worse than stage 1 or 2 prostate cancer–but on a mortality basis, I’d much rather have that than Stage 1 pancreatic cancer.

  14. I am not Happy how he has devalued the Marriott Reward points…100,000 points to stay at a catagory 8 hotel in prime time is redicoulus..I give up a Timeshare for 100,000 points and only get 1 night stay…How sad !!!! Sad for him, but sad for how he took away from his Loyal customers…

  15. I don’t wish this on anyone – the disease claimed my grandfather. That being said, I hope a brush with mortality might flip a switch in his head so that he can see how decimation of the MR programme is bad for business.

  16. The most famous case of Pancreatic Cancer was with Steve Jobs who had access to the best medical care.
    Is the disease purely random, genetic, triggered by diet and health, age related, or environmental factors?
    The high profile cases help to answer some of those questions that long term medical studies try to analyze. This helps others that may be susceptible to avoid or minimize the triggers. After John Wayne, a life long smoker, died from lung cancer, even skeptics were convinced that smoking caused cancer.
    For Pancreatic cancer, and other cancers, are they related to abnormal stressful situations?
    Steve Jobs was notoriously hot tempered, and notoriously practiced ancient meditation techniques. The role model for self confidence (but not my role model). The question raised by Arne Sorenson ‘s case is if something triggered ut, and if it can be successfully treated. Stay optimistic and get well Mr. Sorenson.

  17. Most pancreatic and other cancers caused by tobacco-drug addiction. BAN THE ILLEGAL TOBACCO DRUG, NOW AND PROSECUTE THE CRIMINAL TOBACCO PUSHERS!

Comments are closed.