Romney Rejoins Marriott Board

Mitt Romney gave up his board spot in 2002 to run for governor.
Mitt Romney gave up his board spot in 2002 to run for governor. (Alex Wong - Getty Images For Meet The Press)
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By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been reappointed to Marriott International's board of directors, the Bethesda hotel company said yesterday.

Romney, the former chief executive of Bain Capital, served on Marriott's board for 10 years before resigning to run for governor in 2002. He was also chief executive of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Organizing Committee. At Marriott, he will chair a newly formed finance committee, overseeing the company's financial performance and how it spends money.

"Gov. Romney has repeatedly demonstrated leadership and courage in successfully taking on difficult and complex issues in business, government and the non-profit sector," Marriott chief executive J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. said in a statement. "He will provide strong guidance as our company navigates the challenges of the dynamic global financial system and economy."

The Marriott and Romney families, both active in the Mormon church, have been close for decades, and they have summer homes nearby each other on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Both families also have strong ties to the Republican Party. Marriott family members and other company executives contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Romney's recent presidential bid.

"It is a great privilege to be asked to rejoin the Marriott board and I look forward to serving once again in that capacity," Romney said. "Marriott became one of the world's leading hotel companies because of its emphasis on service, quality and innovation. That same spirit will keep the company thriving, even during challenging economic times."

Since giving up his bid for president, Romney has been a frequent guest on talk shows and helped raise money for the Republican Party through a political action committee called Free and Strong America. A native of Michigan -- his father was the state's governor -- Romney has been a prominent voice on the auto industry's troubles, arguing in a New York Times op-ed that the Big Three should reorganize under bankruptcy laws.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the former governor was not available to answer questions. However, he said: "Governor Romney will continue to be active politically. He's not closing the door to anything. He'll continue to contribute to the public discussion over how to address some of the serious economic and foreign policy challenges facing our nation."

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