Marriott International Asia Pacific (APAC) announced today that Simon F. Cooper, President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific, will retire at the end of the month and Craig S. Smith, currently President of Marriott International Caribbean & Latin America (CALA), succeeded Mr. Cooper on June 1, 2015.
“During an impressive and well-traveled career, Simon has been widely known as an influential leader in the hospitality industry,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “His leadership has been instrumental in the globalization of Marriott’s operations ushering in an exciting chapter of growth at our company.”
Mr. Cooper led the operating performance and growth of Asia Pacific. By the end of the year, Marriott International plans to surpass one million rooms worldwide. Within the next four years, the Company also expects to more-than-double its size in Asia. In the region, Marriott International is represented by nine lodging brands, including BVLGARI, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph, Courtyard, Fairfield and Marriott Executive Apartments.
“These past few years have been tremendous. Not only did our APAC presence grow at an impressive rate but it has been wonderful to see the positive effect Marriott has had on the region’s development. It was very meaningful to end my tenure with a visit to the Marriott Yao Foundation Hope School in the Sichuan Province of China. The school’s goal is complementary to ours: Opening doors to a world of opportunity,” said Mr. Cooper. “I have no doubt that Craig will continue Marriott’s success in the region while making sure that the company stays true to its core values.”
As President of the Caribbean & Latin America region, Mr. Smith was responsible for more than 90 hotels in twenty-five countries. Since assuming the role in 2012, Mr. Smith and his team positioned the region for exciting growth that is projected to include adding 14,000 jobs and over 70 additional properties across 10 lodging brands in 26 countries and territories by 2017.
Mr. Smith has previously worked in Hong Kong serving as Chief Operations Officer for Marriott International’s APAC region. At that time he was responsible for 150 hotels, which generated in excess of US$3.5 billion in revenue. Under his leadership, market share improved by over fifteen percent in just three years. Mr. Smith has also served as Area Vice President for South East Asia and Hong Kong/Macau, and was Area Vice President for India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia.
“I’m looking forward to returning to Asia. A lot has changed since I moved from APAC to CALA and I’m excited to return to the region while it is going through this incredible expansion,” said Mr. Smith. “Asia Pacific is integral to Marriott International achieving its objective of becoming the world’s favorite travel company.”
Mr. Smith is a great proponent of knowledge sharing and an avid user of social media. He tweets daily and contributes monthly to LinkedIn’s Pulse and Overheard@Marriott. His articles relate to learning and using what we learn to better ourselves, creating measurable goals, and accountability, as well as other business, leadership and self-development issues. Mr. Smith’s writing is candid and encourages the reader to commit to self-improvement, both at the office and at home.
“CALA and APAC have a surprising number of shared traits but in many ways they are worlds apart,” said Mr. Smith, “It’s a wonderful opportunity and a huge challenge following in Simon’s footsteps. I’m very much looking forward to building on his success. I am truly standing on the shoulders of a giant.”