By Agam Shah 

Marriott International Inc. has hired an executive who led technology operations at major companies, most recently Merck & Co., to drive digital transformation at the hotel chain.

Jim Scholefield will start Monday as Marriott's chief information and digital officer, reporting to Stephanie Linnartz, group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses.

Mr. Scholefield left New Jersey-based drugmaker Merck in December after spending about a year leading its global technology and cybersecurity efforts. Before that he was CIO at Nike Inc. for about three years and he served as chief technology officer at Coca-Cola Co. for nearly five years.

At Marriott, he succeeds Bruce Hoffmeister, who will retire after more than 30 years with the company. Mr. Hoffmeister will remain with Marriott through the middle of the year to help with the transition.

Mr. Scholefield will lead the Bethesda, Md., hotel company's technology modernization to support growth in existing and new ventures, the company said.

Marriott has about 7,300 properties world-wide and its 30 brands include Ritz-Carlton, Westin, W Hotels, Sheraton and JW Marriott. The company recently joined the home-rental business as it seeks to compete with companies including Airbnb Inc. and Expedia Group Inc., which has expanded in the market through acquisitions.

Marriott is expanding its digital footprint as mobile devices drive interaction with customers. The company last year launched a loyalty program called Bonvoy that merged various loyalty programs across its brands. An accompanying mobile app allows members to use smartphones to unlock hotel-room doors or request toiletries.

Write to Agam Shah at agam.shah@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 21, 2020 17:00 ET (22:00 GMT)

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