Ed Fuller

Position - Former President and managing director of international lodging, Marriott International


Ed Fuller is president and managing director of international lodging for Marriott International, Inc. Based at the company’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., he has overall operating responsibility for managed and franchised hotels spanning seven lodging brands and brand extensions outside the continental United States and Canada. This region includes Hawaii and 68 countries in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East and encompasses more than 350 hotels with annual gross sales exceeding $5.8bn.

Ed joined Marriott in 1972 as a management trainee and has held numerous positions of increasing marketing and operational responsibility. He assumed leadership of Marriott’s international lodging operations in 1991 as senior vice president and managing director and in 1997 assumed his current position of president and managing director.

Ed attended Wake Forest University and is a graduate of Boston University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business advanced management program.

In addition to chairing the International Tourism Partnership’s Governing Council, Ed serves as a trustee of the International Business Leaders Forum, is vice-chairman of the board of United Way International and serves on the Pacific Area Travel Association Foundation board, the corporate advisory board of Safe Kids Worldwide, and the TravelAge West Editorial Advisory Board.

Ed discusses Marriott

Thirty-six years ago when I started in this business, thinking about the impact of climate change was the farthest thing from my mind. And yet today, I co-chair Marriott’s executive-level Green Council, and meet annually with other industry leaders through the International Tourism Partnership’s (ITP) Governing Council to discuss our social and environmental impact. My vocabulary has certainly been expanded!

I believe we are standing at a crossroads. While the science behind climate change may still be debated, few argue that temperatures are rising globally and that this change will potentially have a devastating effect on destinations and populations. As an industry, it is too risky to sit back and watch. We need to take an active part in understanding the change and doing our part to mitigate this trend.
At Marriott, we have decided to be proactive. We are working with Conservation International to fully understand and accurately measure our global carbon footprint. We have project teams focused on ways to integrate better environmental approaches throughout our business including procurement, architecture and construction and engineering.

Our industry is the biggest in the world and promises to grow exponentially over the next 50 years. We cannot ignore the realities. We have a role to play now in reducing our industry’s impact on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the destinations where we do business.

I have had the honour of chairing ITP’s Governing Council for the past five years, and I know that Marriott International is not the only hotel company committed to becoming better stewards of the environment. Scandic, for example, has committed to phasing out their use of fossil fuel by 2025, Hilton has developed an environmental e-learning tool for staff, and Fairmont’s Green Partnership serves as an industry guide for sustainable practices.

Being a hotelier is not as simple as when I started out. In addition to revenue, profit and growth, we are also focused on destination stewardship. We are not just selling hotels but the destination as well. Let’s face it: when travellers make their buying decision, they generally do not select a destination because they want to stay in one of our hotels—especially when making leisure travel choices. They pick a destination because they want to experience its cultural or culinary attractions, environmental areas or places of historical significance.

I consider it a privilege to operate hotels on pristine beaches, near nature and wildlife reserves and in historic cultural city centres—I consider it our duty to protect and preserve these destinations. While we focus on our short-term goals and annual profits, let us not lose sight of the long-term responsibility we have to the places where we call home.

I challenge our industry to take ownership for finding viable and creative responses to the causes of climate change and be better stewards of the environment.

We can make a difference... we must make a difference.

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