Carnival released a statement this morning that Gerry Cahill will retire as the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines at the end of next month.
Mr. Cahill, age 63, has been with Carnival for 20 years. He joined Carnival Corporation in 1994 as vice president – finance. In January 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president – finance and chief financial officer. In 2007, Mr. Cahill became the CEO of Carnival Corporation’s largest cruise brand, Carnival Cruise Lines.
Mr. Cahill guided Carnival Cruise Lines during its expansion. He introduced a new class of cruise ship (the Dream class), which included the Carnival Dream, Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze. He appears to have a likeable, easy-going personality.
Mr. Cahill was often on the proverbial hotspot during the last several years. He had to respond when the Carnival Splendor lost power in 2010 and had to be towed into San Diego. He also was at the helm of the cruise line during the disastrous PR debacle when the Carnival Triumph suffered an engine room fire and had to be towed across the Gulf of Mexico.
The incident was covered by CNN extensively. Carnival’s brand recognition suffered dramatically as it became know as the "poop cruise" line.
Mr. Cahill also caught the wrath of Senator Jay Rockefeller who conducted a series of cruise safety hearings last year and this year following the Costa Concordia disaster. Rockefeller voiced his disapproval of the short prepared statement that Mr. Cahill read at the 2013 hearing (photo, second from right).
In what seemed like a vote of no confidence for Mr. Cahill, Carnival invited former Carnival Cruise Line president Bob Dickinson back as a "special consultant" to Carnival Cruise Line in June 2013.
In all fairness to Mr. Cahill, Micky Arison was missing in action when the Splendor and Triumph went adrift and Carnival’s reputation began to sink following the Concordia debacle. Mr. Cahill took a lot of heat for cruise line issues outside of his responsibility.
He will retire on November 30th. Carnival has not announced his replacement yet.
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