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MIAMI — A familiar face among cruise line executives, NCL’s President and CEO Andy Stuart is leaving the company.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings made the announcement today, saying Stuart’s planned departure will follow the launch of new ship Norwegian Encore and the appointment of Harry Sommer, current President, International for NCLH, as Stuart’s successor.
While Stuart will step down as President and CEO on Dec. 31, 2019, he will remain with the company as Senior Advisor through March 31, 2020 to ensure a smooth transition.
Stuart’s career with NCL goes back to 1988. He held several key executive positions over his three decades plus with the cruise line, including: President and Chief Operating Officer; Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Passenger Services; Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Passenger Services.
He was instrumental for many initiatives that became revolutions in the cruise industry, including Freestyle Dining, allowing passengers to dine at any time, with no assigned seating. The idea was unheard of at the time but quickly proved popular, prompting other cruise lines to make adjustments as well. NCL’s Freestyle Cruising concept is now a pillar of its brand.
“I could only have dreamed about my journey at Norwegian when I joined the company in 1988 and am extremely fortunate to have witnessed firsthand the incredible evolution of this pioneering brand,” says Stuart.
“I am honoured to have played a role in the leadership position Norwegian now holds in this incredible industry and continue to be proud of the commitment, dedication and passion of our team for delivering a best-in-class vacation experience.”
Stuart adds that Sommer is the right successor: “I have worked closely with Harry and am confident he is the right person to take the helm and continue the journey for Norwegian Cruise Line.”
Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., says: “Andy has accomplished everything possible in the cruise industry, including leading its most storied and innovative brand. He will leave on a high note after delivering the brand’s latest ship, Norwegian Encore, the last ship in the most successful ship class in the company’s history.”
He added: “We are extremely grateful for his leadership and contributions to Norwegian Cruise Line, our company and the cruise industry. Over the last several years, Norwegian’s management and Board of Directors have worked closely on a comprehensive succession plan that leveraged the considerable bench strength across the organization. The Board and I are confident that Harry is the right person to succeed Andy as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Norwegian Cruise Line brand and look forward to him leveraging his breadth of knowledge and extensive experience in the industry and our Company to take the brand to new heights.”
Sommer and Stuart have worked closely together over the last several years “and I am humbled and honored to follow in his footsteps and lead this renowned brand.
“I look forward to working with all of our incredible partners worldwide, building off the strong position the brand holds today and charting the strategy for the next phase of Norwegian’s journey.”
As President, International for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., Sommer is currently responsible for all sales, marketing, public relations and office operations for NCL as well as Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in all markets outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Sommer previously served as Executive Vice President, International Business Development and Executive Vice President and Chief Integration Officer for NCLH and held various executive positions for Prestige Cruise Holdings including Chief Marketing Officer; Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Information Officer and Chief Accounting Officer.