Bill Shaw has seen a lot in his 37 years in the hospitality industry. When he joined Marriott in 1974, the company was a mid-size conglomerate. Today, it is the most-respected lodging-focused company in the world, and Shaw is a big reason why. He retires as vice chairman of the hotel giant on Mar. 31.

True to his persona as a behind-the-scenes force at Marriott, Shaw credits others—specifically Chairman and CEO Bill Marriott—for his success. “The greatest experience for me was the opportunities I’ve had in both finance and operations as well as to know Bill Marriott, who is the finest executive I’ve ever worked with,” says Shaw.

Shaw joined the company in 1974 and was named corporate controller in 1979 and vice president in 1982. He later became senior vice president, finance and treasurer and then CFO and executive vice president. In 1992, he was named president of the Marriott Service Group and became president and COO of Marriott International in 1997. Two years ago, he was elected vice chairman.

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