Meet Marriott's new Canadian president

Don Cleary (left) with Scott Allison at the CHIC conference.

Don Cleary (left) with Scott Allison at the CHIC conference.

MISSISSAUGA — Marriott's new Canadian president has had a busy few months, meeting owners from coast to coast, working in Washington to integrate the Marriott and Delta brands, and picking Michael Beckley's brain before he retired last month.

Don Cleary has Canadian experience, having worked as Marriott area vice-president overseeing operations here for a little over a year in 2009-2010. “It was great. I like to say that Canada is a lot of geography, but the business community in the hotel segment is a tight-knit group.” 

He also has broad Marriott experience, having worked for the company for 26 years starting as a lawyer doing transactions, and working through roles in hotel development, asset management, hotel operations and as chief financial officer and chief operations officer in Asia. He became president of Marriott Hotels Canada in mid-March. 

When describing his goals, Cleary uses the word “preference.” He would like Marriott to be the preferred employer in the hospitality segment in Canada, and says that joining the great Delta and Marriott cultures will help in this accomplishment. Delta has just been named by Aon Hewitt as one of the country's Best Employers for the 15th time, and Marriott has always featured prominently in Fortune's Best Companies to Work For. 

He wants to lead in customer preferences as well. “We have a great chance because of the breadth of brands — we cover 11 of the 19 Marriott brands in Canada, and we have brands in all segments, whether extended stay, luxury or moderate-tier hotels.”

Cleary also wants Marriott to be preferred in the owner community by driving premium rates, market share, profitability and best-in-class ownership. “With 125 hotels coupled with a leadership team based in Canada for Canada, we have the ability to meet these goals.”

Cleary's new leadership team is a combination of Marriott and Delta executives. The company in Canada is divided into Eastern and Western Teams, headed by Eastern area vice-president Paul Cahill, who will also be the Delta brand leader globally, and Martin Stitt, who comes from Delta and is based in Calgary, as area vice-president for the West. 

There are two area developers: Ryan McRae in the West and Manlio Marescotti in the East. 

Scott Allison is now head of owner and franchisee support services.

The leadership team also includes: Laura Pallotta from Delta as vice-president of sales and marketing for Canada; Frederic Herlory, vice-president finance for Canada and Marisa Milton, vice-president of human resources for Canada.

Says Cleary, “I am absolutely thrilled to be back in Canada. It's a great place to do business and I have been welcomed by the business community. It's been great to get to know the Delta associates and get out to the many hotels — Delta gives more places for our customers to go in Canada, and makes us a stronger hotel group. Delta has the East-West travel in Canada and Marriott has the North-South travel. The combination makes us a lot stronger both in Canada and in capturing Canadian travel to the U.S.”

“I am also looking to spend some personal time at some of these hotels,” he adds.