Arison to step down as Carnival chief

Arison to step down as Carnival chief

Carnival Corporation has announced its plan to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. 

Present incumbent Micky Arison will continue to serve as chairman of the company, while Arnold Donald, a highly experienced and respected business leader, who has served on the company’s board for the past 12 years, will assume the chief executive role from July 3rd. 

Arison became chief executive in 1979. 

At that time the company was privately held and operated three cruise ships under one brand, generating $44 million in revenues and carrying approximately 160,000 passengers a year. 

By 1987, Carnival Cruise Lines had become the world’s largest cruise operator and Arison took the company public.

Working in partnership with current vice chairman and chief operating officer Howard Frank, Arison led the company through an aggressive expansion that included the acquisition of several iconic cruise brands, including Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn. 

In 2003, a merger between Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises plc – comprised of Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK), P&O Cruises (Australia), and German cruise brand AIDA – was completed, creating the first global cruise operator and one of the largest leisure travel companies in the world. 

In addition, the company undertook an ambitious schedule of new ship introductions. Under Arison’s leadership, Carnival Corporation & plc has grown to more than 100 ships, carrying ten million passengers a year and generating more than $15 billion in annual revenues.

In his role as chairman, Arison will continue to provide board level oversight for the company and will remain the company’s largest shareholder.

Donald will lead the executive team, initially focusing on achieving the company’s long-term strategic goals while working directly with the operating brand executives. 

Frank will continue to serve in his current role as vice chairman and chief operating officer of the company, supporting Donald in working with the corporate level executive team. 

The move has received unanimous approval from the company’s nominating and governance committee as well as the full board of directors. 

“I have been discussing this with the board for some time now and feel the timing is right to align our company with corporate governance best practices and turn over the reins after 34 years as chief executive,” said Arison. 

“Arnold is an exceptional professional with extensive experience in organizational leadership who will bring a fresh perspective to the company.

“I have come to value and rely on his judgment and insight during the 12 years he has served on the company’s board and I am very confident in his ability to move the organization forward,” Arison added.

“As chairman, I will still be working closely with Arnold to ensure a great future for all our stakeholders.”