The wider picture: Marriott Bonvoy and all the rest
A final open letter to Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International Inc [MAR] - "A Lie or a Life?"
Dear Mr Sorenson,
This open letter is my final communication prior to the commencement of a hunger strike (first referred to in a letter to you dated 10th September 2016) which is aimed to publicise a variety of concerns regarding Marriott International Inc [MAR]: corruption (not least the dishonest Starwood merger), human rights infringements, the Marriott board's breaching of its fiduciary duties and other serious regulatory misconduct (including a lack of "proper due diligence", as determined recently by the UK's data protection regulator).
It is now eleven years since the Starwood Corporation was originally notified of serious operational irregularities and corporate malfeasance. Starwood initially tried passing the buck but then opted to go silent (except when senior executives - Duncan, van Paasschen, McAveety, Pehl et al - attempted to deal with the matter "under the table"). Starwood's subsequent problems were clearly related to these issues resulting in a number of sudden and unexpected "resignations". In 2015/16 you were personally and repeatedly alerted to the potential grave consequences of not investigating aspects of the Starwood operation but you ignored all communication and Marriott rushed headlong into the merger. All courier-delivered correspondence remains unanswered to this day and other attempts to resolve the situation, including mediation, slighted. US regulators have been aware of the situation for some considerable time whilst remaining inactive.
The silence, Mr Sorenson, is deafening.
It is the silence of the bully whose sole weapon is power and size;
the silence of the global corporation which secretly circumvents parochial (dumb?) regulation;
the silence of the corporate CEO whose personal mission is to survive until the next quarterly report;
the silence of codes of ethical conduct which were only ever intended for show;
the silence of global corruption, collusion and brown envelopes which must literally never be spoken about;
the silence of the criminal whose legal team constantly emphasises the words "no comment";
the silence of the religious hypocrite, pious in appearance, deviously immoral in practice;
the silence of the cult leader who knows what the sheep must never know;
the silence of the narcissist with his unspoken but overwhelming sense of entitlement.
It is the silence of deceit and the silence of guilt.
As deafening as that silence is, Marriott's consistently ludicrous, ear-splitting rhetoric, with its cosmic disconnect between words and action, between reality and make-believe, continues unabated. Marriott's Golden Rule, initiated in August 2017, was marketed "as a guiding principle of how all people should treat each other... We are using our powerhouse status to celebrate human connections." (Paige Francis, Vice President, Global Brand Marketing at Marriott International.) The infamous Serve 360: Doing good in every direction programme (unveiled by Marriott in late 2017) states that Marriott has "an even greater obligation to operate responsibly with our expanding global presence... We are committed to uphold and respect human rights... We commit to creating positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business... We believe in making the communities where we operate better places to live, work and visit... As the global hospitality leader...Marriott International has a global responsibility and unique opportunity to be a force for good in all aspects of our business... We recognize that how we do business is as important as the business that we do. Associates and customers want to work for and do business with a company that aligns with their values and drives positive community impact. We are proud to be part of the solution..."
Yet 2018/19 has resulted, for example, in the Marriott-China gaff, the Marriott US employee strikes, the Marriott Bonvoy farce, the Starwood cyber-hacking scandal and the deceptive pricing outrage. Legal suits abound and massive regulatory fines are in the pipeline. However, these are only recent crises and peripheral to the gravamen of the entire Marriott can of worms: the corrupted 2016 mega-merger with Starwood. ("A certain kind of charismatic leader can run a financially successful company on thoroughly unhealthy principles for a time. But... the chickens always come home to roost" Skynner/Cleese)
And now for the hunger strike, possibly the world's first against a hotel company. This is a true David v Goliath. Me, 61 years old, alone (though acting for others) and, at the time of writing, without legal representation and minimal media coverage; Marriott with its stockpile of legal teams and universal, lopsided reportage and propaganda. My only weapon is the evidence held concerning Marriott criminality; Marriott believes in its own invincibility and the entire arsenal of weaponry stems from the power, ca
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