Carnival Corp has announced a change at the top for the world’s largest cruise ship owner, with Josh Weinstein replacing Arnold Donald as president and chief executive on 1 August.

Weinstein, currently chief operations officer, will become only the fourth person to lead the cruise giant founded by Ted Arison, father of current chairman Micky Arison.

The shake-up in the Carnival Corp captain’s chair will see Donald, who shepherded as it suddenly changed from a massively profitable giant to a company facing a complete industry shutdown in the face of a global pandemic, remain at the company as vice chairman.

Weinstein, 48, stepped into the chief operations officer role right in the midst of that Covid-19 crisis in June 2020, taking on the job of second in command as the company faced the challenge of resuscitating a fleet halted by the pandemic.

“Josh is a proven executive who is well-respected throughout the company, serving in key leadership roles, driving strong business results during his tenure and playing an integral part in stewarding the company through the global pandemic,” Donald said.

“Josh’s thorough understanding of our industry, operations and business strategy puts him in a tremendous position to lead the next phase of our company’s journey. With his vision, intensity and core values truly aligned to those of our company, I cannot think of anyone better suited for this role than Josh.”

Weinstein has spent 20 years at Carnival. Before his two years as group-wide chief operations officer, he spent three years as president of Carnival UK, the operating company that oversees Cunard and P&O Cruises (UK).

He spent nine years as Carnival Corp treasurer, after starting his career as a lawyer in private practice and then joining the Miami cruise ship giant as assistant general counsel in March 2002.

“I am truly humbled to take up the role of CEO and am honoured to lead such a talented team of over 100,000 ship and shoreside team members who do such an incredible job in delivering unforgettable, happy vacations to our guests, day in and day out,” Weinstein said.

Carnival chief executive Arnold Donald (left) and chairman Micky Arison walk to federal court in 2019. Photo: Scanpix

Donald took the reins in 2013 from Arison, the billionaire who had been chief executive since 1979.

In that role, he led Carnival to record results before Covid-19 pulled the rug out from the industry. But if all goes as planned, Donald will hand the reins to Weinstein as all nine brands running fully operational fleets that so far have been restarted with revenue management discipline that is expected to see Carnival return to profitable operations by the beginning of the summer.

Although he came to the Carnival chief executive job after roles in agricultural and biotech companies, Donald was not new to Carnival, having been on the board of directors since 2001. His appointment to the CEO job also made him a rare black chief executive of a large-cap, US-listed company.

Carnival did not say whether Weinstein will take over the chief climate officer role that Donald added to his job title in January.

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