J. Willard Marriott Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott, who announced his retirement on Tuesday. (Norm Betts/Bloomberg News)

Here is Marriott’s full statement, from his blog:

In 2012, we celebrate the 85th birthday of our company and I proudly celebrate my 60th year of service. During the past six decades, I have had the privilege to know and work with some of the most talented people in the world. Our associates have always been my extended family to me, and one of the greatest joys in life have been to see so many find a welcoming place and rewarding opportunities at Marriott.

It’s amazing to think about what has been accomplished since that little root beer stand was opened so many years ago by my mom and dad in 1927. As we look to the future, I can honestly say I have never been more confident about our company.

In that regard, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that we are well positioned to succeed in the future. With the support and approval of our Board of Directors, I am excited to announce a change in my role and other changes in our leadership team.

Effective March 31, I will assume the role of Executive Chairman of the company and relinquish the role of Chief Executive Officer. I will remain chairman of our company’s board of directors. As Executive Chairman, I will continue to share my many years of experience with our senior management team as we pursue future growth. My energies will also be directed at reinforcing the timeless core values that have been the bedrock of our success. I still plan on visiting a lot of our hotels and continuing to be a company ambassador as we build opportunity throughout the world.

I am particularly pleased to announce that Arne Sorenson has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer by the Board, also effective March 31. There is no one more deserving or capable of assuming the role at this important juncture in the company’s history. Arne knows the business, lives our core values and has the respect and admiration of all of the company’s major stakeholders. I have the utmost confidence in Arne as I hand over the day-to-day reins of the business to him.

I personally recruited Arne to Marriott in 1996 after working extensively with him in the early 1990’s on the split that created what are now called Marriott International and Host Hotels and Resorts. His success would appear to have come easily, but Arne complemented his wonderful talent with good old-fashioned hard work, team-play and a drive for results. By 1998, he had become our Chief Financial Officer and later added responsibility for overseeing our business in Europe. In 2009, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer. As his supervisor, mentor and friend, I could not be happier for him or more pleased for our company.

I am also delighted to announce that Bob McCarthy has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer for Marriott International, effective March 31. In this role, Bob will continue to have oversight for Global Lodging Services and The Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Our Continent Presidents will also have a reporting line to Bob in addition to their primary reporting relationship to Arne.

As a 35-year veteran of the company, Bob has made significant contributions to our growth and performance and has distinguished himself with his business leadership and stewardship of our company culture. His career, which began as a restaurant waiter, is a tribute to the opportunity that is possible at Marriott. I am proud and pleased to announce this significant career milestone.

I am excited by all that Arne and Bob will bring to their new roles and am pleased to continue our great partnership. I ask that you join me in congratulating them and wishing success to all of us in our new roles.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz