Marriott Vacations Worldwide has revealed that after 50 years of dedicated service in the hospitality and travel industry, Stephen P. Weisz has informed its board of directors of his intent to retire as CEO at the end of the company’s fiscal year on Dec. 31. John E. Geller Jr., current president, will succeed Weisz and assume the role of president/CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Weisz has served in senior leadership roles for the last 26 years, first as president of Marriott Vacation Club International, a division of Marriott International, and the last 10 years serving in the role of CEO, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, which became a publicly traded company in 2011.
Throughout his tenure, Weisz’s leadership has resulted in significant growth across the company’s business. Most notably, he led the 2018 acquisition of ILG. He also spearheaded significant innovations over his career, including the introduction of a guest loyalty program, the expansion of Marriott Vacation Club into Asia and the introduction of a points-based vacation ownership product in response to customers’ desires for greater flexibility and variety in vacationing.
“I am incredibly grateful for the years spent working in an industry I genuinely love,” said Weisz. “Vacations foster deeper connections between people that are sometimes lost in the normal pace of life, and they help people expand their horizons all while experiencing new things together. It has been an honor to serve in this role and to lead the many innovations we’ve made over the years, all of which are a result of the dedication of our associates who truly are the best in the business.”
In addition, Weisz has made a lasting impact outside the company through his commitment to advancing talent in the travel industry through his alma mater, Cornell University, and his advisory board role at the University of Central Florida Rosen School of Hospitality Management, as well as his board service with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the trade association for the timeshare industry.
“Throughout Steve’s tenure, he has successfully guided the business and demonstrated a remarkable level of leadership, resulting in steady and significant growth and consistent value delivery for shareholders,” said Bill Shaw, chairman of the board of directors. “On behalf of the entire board of directors, we recognize the lasting mark he has made on the company. In addition, we are pleased to appoint John into his new role and are greatly confident in his ability to continue the important transformational efforts underway and lead the company forward in the future.”
The forthcoming appointment to CEO in 2023 is the next natural step for Geller, who has served as the company’s president since 2021 with oversight over the vacation ownership, finance & accounting, human resources and IT functions. He previously served as the company’s CFO. Prior to that, he worked for Marriott International in various senior roles supporting North America lodging operations and internal audit.
“This is a well-earned recognition of John’s outstanding business acumen and his ability to think differently about the company’s business and customer all while maintaining superlative relationships with investors,” said Weisz. “He has a balanced and well-regarded leadership style that has helped accelerate our growth ambition, and those qualities will be instrumental in guiding the organization forward in the years ahead.”
As president, Geller has led the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and helped guide the company’s strong recovery. He also helped lead the spin-off of the company from Marriott International in 2011 and more recently played a key leadership role in the acquisition and integration of ILG in 2018. Currently, he is helping to transform the Marriott-branded vacation ownership business with a new combined product form set to debut this summer and most recently helped lead the completion of the Welk Resorts acquisition and revitalizing the Hyatt Vacation Ownership business.
“I want to thank Steve for his leadership and support, and I am appreciative of the board’s confidence and endorsement,” said Geller. “I believe we are perfectly positioned to continue to benefit from the strength of our brands and the leisure travel segment. As I transition into this new role, I look forward to spending time with our talented associates around the globe as we continue to create many meaningful vacation experiences for our customers.”