J. W. Marriott, Jr.

J. W. Marriott, Jr.

Chairman, Chief Executive Officer

Marriott International, Inc.

“It’s smart business. I value the presence of minority and women associates’ perspectives. Those who don’t have these perspectives cannot compete with those who do.”

According to Chairman and CEO J. W. Marriott, Jr., “Marriott International’s commitment to diversity is absolute. It is the only way to attract, develop, and retain the very best talent available. It is the only way to forge the business relationships necessary to continue our dynamic growth. And it is the only way to meet our responsibilities to our associates, customers, partners, and stakeholders.”

Marriott International’s statement on diversity firmly places diversity as a primary core value governing its business strategies, and Mr. Marriott’s leadership at the helm of this organization supports the “absolute” commitment to this value at all levels of the company’s structure: “Embracing diversity adds substantial value to the organization. It strengthens the company’s culture and improves its ability to reach a changing and diverse marketplace.”

Mr. Marriott makes a clear connection between a diverse workforce and the ability to compete in today’s market and asserts that: “in today’s marketplace, you have to be diverse to be competitive for consumer business and talented employees. A more diverse management team means better business decisions.”

The company’s commitment to diversity has resulted in Marriott International being ranked number one on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Hospitality Industry Report Card three times out of its five-year existence, in Fortune’s”Top 50 Companies for Minorities” for the fifth consecutive year, and as the National Black MBA Association’s Corporation of the Year (2002). Marriott International is also the recipient of the Catalyst Award (2002) for advancing women’s leadership in the workplace. Even with all these awards and recognitions under his belt, Mr. Marriott continues to push his board of directors and his management team to create a corporate culture where diversity continues to be prioritized as a business imperative.

Marriott International focuses on diversity because it is the business thing to do, and Mr. Marriott suggests that companies that do not focus on diversity will quickly fall behind in capitalizing on the consumer purchasing power as well as the employee talent rising from minority communities. He stresses this for every level within his own organization, as well as the service providers that Marriott hires, including law firms.

As Joseph Ryan, executive vice president and general counsel, echoes, “Mr. Marriott and Mr. Shaw [president & chief operating officer] are completely committed to having a diverse group of associates. Having that commitment at the very top of an organization is critical to developing successful, business-oriented diversity initiatives. The law department shares their enthusiasm because it makes sense in every respect; our associates, including, of course, the lawyers who represent us need to be representative of our community and our guests.”

Return to Diversity in Dollars and $ense: CEOs Speak Out on the Business Case for the 21st Century

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