Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald received over $15,000,000 in compensation in 2021, according to MarketWatch. Carnival stock (CCL) had a “two-year decline of 60.4%” while Mr. Donald’s “total compensation increased 35.1% over the past two years” to $15,060,000.

The Carnival CEO’s income increased from $13,306,097 in 2020 and $11,149,514 million in 2019, according to Cruise Industry News. Included  in the $15 million, Mr. Donald received $1.50 million in salary, $7.45 million in stock awards and $6.00 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation.

David Bernstein, Carnival’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) collected $4,957,207​ in 2021, up from $4,426,324 in 2020. Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group, collected $6,851,769 in 2021, up from 5,176,819 in 2020. These two cruise executives alone collected well over $2,100,000 more in 2021 than in 2020.

Last month, the Chief Judge for the Southern District of Florida fined Carnival Corporation $1,000,000 for violating the terms of its criminal probation which it has been serving for the past five years. (This follows earlier sanctions of $40,000,000 and $20,000,000). In response, Carnival promptly paid the fine on the same day with a $1,000,000 check.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stated in a press release on January 11, 2022 that Princess Cruises and its parent Carnival Corporation have “a culture that seeks to minimize or avoid information that is negative, uncomfortable, or threatening to the company, including to top leadership (i.e., the Board of Directors, C-Suite executives and Brand Presidents/CEOs).”

Mr. Donald’s income, although not the highest in the cruise industry (that goes to NCLH’s CEO Frank Del Rio who whose compensation in 2020 was a whopping $36,400,000), has been the focus of several high profile national articles, including by the New Yorker. The magazine focused on his compensation in 2020 of $13.3 million—nearly twenty per cent more than his 2019 total. It wrote:

“His company, at the time, was running up ten billion dollars in losses for the year and earning a place of prominence in two streams of undesirable media coverage. One emphasized Carnival’s tally of infected passengers and crew, which eventually exceeded fifteen hundred and led to dozens of known deaths. (Cruise ships were described as “floating petri dishes” in more than a few accounts.) Another focused on the hundreds of Carnival employees who had been fired or furloughed, some while still at sea, making their plight the starting point for a discussion of the industry’s low salaries (typically ranging from five hundred and fifty to two thousand dollars a month) and onerous work conditions.”

My view is that as long as CEO Donald can collect an increase in compensation several times more than the latest sanction imposed by the chief judge in federal court in Miami after Carnival and its subsidiary companies engaged in defiance of the terms and condition of court ordered probation following their convictions for pollution, lying to the U.S. Coast Guard and the DOJ, don’t expect that there will be a change under this leadership in how the Carnival companies treat the environment.

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Photo Credit: Top – Arnold Donald – CNBC screen grab; bottom – New Yorker article – David Paul Morris / Bloomberg / Getty via New Yorker.