Marriott executive who led Bonvoy launch to leave company
The Marriott Bonvoy program officially arrived in February 2019, and while its lifespan will undoubtedly continue into 2020 and beyond, a key marketing executive who spearheaded the launch will not be around to see it. As first reported by Adweek and confirmed by TPG with Marriott directly, the company's global marketing officer — Karin Timpone — is stepping down from her role at the end of the year.
Karin joined the company in 2013 and, according to a statement provided by Marriott's PR team, is credited with "significantly transforming Marriott’s marketing capabilities, introducing next-generation marketing technologies, cutting edge marketing partnerships and travel storytelling that has been recognized with Cannes Lions Gold." Her tenure also saw loyalty program membership triple (now standing at roughly 135 million) and significant growth in the chain's cobranded credit card business.
Karin described her departure, in a statement via Marriott, as follows:
"I am so grateful to have led a central initiative within Marriott’s transformation. Having completed the Marriott Bonvoy launch with key marketing benchmarks ahead of estimates, this a perfect time for me to thoughtfully plan my next move. I will remain in my role through this year to ensure a smooth transition. I am so thankful to my team and Marriott colleagues around the world for all we have accomplished together."
We asked for additional details on a timeline for a replacement as well as whether there would be any changes in strategy for Marriott once Karin steps down but weren't provided with any other details. David Flueck will continue to head the Bonvoy program as he does today.
Of course, TPG readers are likely well aware of the consumer-facing issues that have come up since the August 2018 integration of Marriott and SPG, and some have remained into the first few months of the Bonvoy launch — including problems affecting TPG staffers directly. Starwood loyalists may grumble about the aforementioned growth in cobranded business coming at the expense of the SPG Amex cards, and some have bemoaned the category changes that took effect in March — including a new, 85,000-point-per-night tier that's among the highest among hotel loyalty programs.
And things aren't entirely settled yet, with a new slate of changes to the program's Points Advance feature as well as peak/off-peak pricing set to take effect in just over a week. We'll break down all of these changes as soon as they're live to help you decide if Marriott should earn your business in 2020 — or if there's another program out there for you.