Joining Other Top Executives, Marriott CEO Addresses Coronavirus Concerns

Arne Sorenson, who has led the company since 2012, said that in most of the company's markets, the business was running 75 per cent below normal levels.

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By Debroop Roy

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Adding to what has already become a tumultuous ride for businesses across the world, the chief executive officer of hospitality company Marriott International said the coronavirus outbreak has been more severe for the hotel chain than the Great Depression and World War 2.

In an emotional video message to the company's employees, CEO Arne Sorenson said the current financial situation was worse than the worst ever quarter for the company, which saw about a 25 percent fall in revenue. "In terms of our business, COVID-19 is like nothing we've ever seen before," he said.

Sorenson, who has led the company since 2012, said that in most of the company's markets, the business was running 75 per cent below normal levels.

Apart from giving leave of absence to tens of thousands of employees, suspending all non-essential travel and a hiring freeze, Sorenson said he will not receive any salary for the remainder of the year, same as executive chairman Bill Marriott Jr. while the executive team will take a 50 per cent pay cut.

Fear Spreads Across

This comes only a day after India's largest airline IndiGo said it would implement salary reductions of up to 25 per cent across verticals owing to the pandemic that has claimed more than 9,000 lives globally. Across the globe, news reports suggest pilots employed with British Airways will see a 50 per cent cut to their basic salary for April and May.

Several top executives in the airline industry have announced pay cuts for themselves as well as other top executives as lockdowns and suspension of visas has resulted in air travel coming to a virtual halt to and from affected countries.

According to a recent assessment by the International Labour Organization (ILO), an United Nations body, the economic and labour crisis due to the pandemic could increase global unemployment by nearly 25 million.

"However, if we see an internationally coordinated policy response, as happened in the global financial crisis of 2008/9, then the impact on global unemployment could be significantly lower," the ILO said.

Debroop Roy

Entrepreneur Staff


Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore for Entrepreneur. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.

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