Romney Rejoins Marriott Board In Return To Public Life

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Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made his return to life after politics with Monday’s announcement that he had rejoined Marriott International’s board of directors.

It is a position the former Massachusetts governor previously held before his failed attempt to unseat President Barack Obama.

“It is an honor to once again be able to serve in the company of leaders like Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson and to support the work of the tens of thousands of Marriott associates who make Marriott International the renowned success that it is,” Romney wrote in a statement distributed by Marriott.

The move is Romney’s first back to the public arena since his Nov. 6 Election Day defeat. He will be subletting space at the offices of his son Tagg’s investment firm, Solamere Capital, in Boston, though he won’t be joining the firm himself, aides said.

The former candidate has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since his Election Night concession remarks in Boston. He’s spent the past month largely in seclusion at his family’s California home, but he was spotted taking in the latest installment of the “Twilight” movie franchise with his family. He shared a photo with his wife Ann on his official Facebook page on Thanksgiving.

Romney met with President Obama and his former running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, in Washington last Thursday, but chose not to speak to reporters afterwards. A statement from the White House said Romney and Obama discussed American leadership abroad, and vowed to stay in touch.

Romney resigned from Marriott’s board in January 2011, a year before the first votes in the GOP primary and caucus season. He first began serving on the board in 1993, leaving in 2002 after being elected governor of Massachusetts. He rejoined the board again in 2009.

“We are delighted that Gov. Romney has agreed to rejoin our board, on which he has served with distinction twice before,” J.W. Marriott, Jr. wrote in a statement. “We will benefit from his tremendous energy and capability to guide long-term success in an increasingly complex business environment.”

Marriott directors received a base pay of $60,000 and $110,000 in Marriott stock in 2011, the most recent year for which pay has been disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition they received $1,250 for every meeting they attended.

Romney has maintained a longtime friendship with members of the Marriott family, who, like him, are members of the Mormon church and also own a vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

The Romney and Marriott families have a long-standing friendship. Mitt Romney’s father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, named his son Willard Mitt Romney after J. Willard Marriott, the family’s patriarch.

Romney’s association with the company was the subject of Democratic criticism during the general election campaign. Obama’s team hurled charges – pegged to an editorial on CNN.com – that Romney was involved with the reporting of a $70 million fictional tax loss when he served on Marriot’s board in the nineteen-nineties.

Marriott International Inc. is based in Bethesda, Md.

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