Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and other top Carnival cruise executives collected millions of dollars more in compensation in 2020 than in 2019 via stock awards, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week. Cruise Industry News summarized the compensation in an article titled Carnival Corporation Executives Made More Money in 2020.

CEO Donald collected around $2,225,000 more money last year compared to 2019. His compensation exceeded $13,080,000 in 2020 compared to around $10,080,000 in 2019. CEO Donald, alone, alone received stock award last year of over $12,228,000.

Other Carnival executives also collected more in income in 2020 than in 2019. Carnival CFO David Bernstein collected $4,210,085 in 2020, around $630,000 more than in 2019. Stein Kruse, former CEO of Holland America Group, collected $5,1461,760, nearly $1,100,000 more than in 2019. Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group, collected $5,001,551, around $178,000 than in 2019.

In total, these four Carnival executives collected over $4,140,000 more in 2020 than in 2019.

Cruise Industry News wrote that “total compensation for Carnival Corporation senior executives was up in 2020 thanks to stock awards. It explained that due to the pandemic, Carnival cut the base salaries of these executives and issued “restricted stock units” (RSU) which were restricted until last month.

Carnival “saved” around $1,700,000 in reducing the salaries of these four men in 2020, but it issued stock awards with a value of over $24,800,000 in 2020.  Carnival increased its stock awards to these four executives by nearly $10,000,000 in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Last May, we reported that Carnival Corporation announced a series of layoffs and furloughs affecting more than 1,300 workers in its Florida offices. CEO Arnold Donald released a letter and video to Carnival employees about the terminations and furloughs.  Carnival Corporation stated that 820 positions in South Florida would be eliminated and 537 workers placed on “temporary” furlough out of its workforce of around 3,000 South Florida employees (more than 45% of its Florida employees).

Carnival also terminated 450 employees in the United Kingdom, cut the salaries of the remaining staff members by 20% through November. Carnival-owned Holland America Line announced that it was laying off around 2,000 employees and furloughing or reducing the hours and pay of its remaining shoreside employees, according to the Seattle Times.

Except for the skeleton staff of crew members working on some of the ships in the Carnival fleet, its crew members have not received any income or benefits dating back to the middle of last year.

When Carnival announced last May that CEO Donald would take a 50% reduction of his salary, Carnival didn’t mention that he would receive over $12,200,000 in stock awards, taking his compensation to over $13,000,000.

Seatrade Cruise News reported that CEO Donald and the three other Carnival officers “did better in devastated 2020 than in 2019, a year of peak profitability.” Seatrade also reported that Carnival incurred a $10,200,000,000 (billion) net loss last year, compared to a $3,000,000,000 (billion) profit in fiscal 2019.

We have reported on the exorbitant cruise executive salaries over the years.  Read Cruise Line CEO’s Income: The Rich Get Richer which we published last year. Usually, Carnival Corporation reports billion dollar annual profits, like competitor Royal Caribbean. But a CEO collecting over $13,000,000 to oversee job terminations, furloughs, reduced work weeks and salary reductions of its land-based employees, while the majority of  Carnival’s 100,000 ship employees struggle to support their families, is obscene.

It is even more appalling that that Carnival Corporation rewarded these cruise executives many millions of dollars in stock for their disastrous decisions in February and March of last year regarding the continues sailing of the Diamond Princess, Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Costa Luminosa, and HAL’s Zaandam and Rotterdam while the pandemic unfolded. Nearly 2,000 guests and crew on these Carnival-owned ship were infected and over 60 people died of COVID-19, according to the Miami Herald.

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Photo credits: Arnold Donald – World Travel and Tourism Council – Keynote, CC BY 2.0; Carnival Mardi Gras –  kees torn – CC BY-SA 2.0; Diamond Princess – Alpsdake extracted from Diamond Princess (ship, 2004) and Port of Toba.jpg, CC BY-SA 4.0.