Gus Antorcha

New leadership announced for Holland America, Costa 

MIAMI — Several Carnival Corp. cruise line executives have new titles and responsibilities in a C-suite shakeup put in motion by Orlando Ashford’s departure as President of Holland America Line at the end of May.

Taking over from Ashford is Carnival Cruise Line veteran Gus Antorcha, who has been named President of Holland America Line, effective immediately.

The move creates a vacancy in Antorcha’s former position, Chief Operations Officer for Carnival Cruise Line. That spot will be filled by Neil Palomba, who was previously President of Costa Cruises. Palomba also takes on the title of Executive VP of Carnival Cruise Line.

Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group & Carnival Asia, will add the role of President of Costa Cruises to his title. Mario Zanetti becomes Costa’s Chief Commercial Officer.

The appointment of Antorcha and Palomba are two important moves within Carnival Corp.’s global leadership team as part of the company’s broader efforts to enhance operations and best prepare the organization for the eventual resumption of cruising.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to continue enhancing our global operations, these moves clearly demonstrate the depth and strength of our leadership team,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “

“We are using this pause in guest operations to evaluate every aspect of our business, including our leadership structures, and make changes where appropriate to improve our business. Gus and Neil are both proven and strategic leaders within our organization, and we are looking forward to their contributions and success in these new roles as we position our company and our brands for a bright future.”

Prior to becoming COO, Antorcha served as Carnival Cruise Line’s EVP, Guest Services, responsible for onboard operations, and SVP, Guest Commerce. He previously served as a partner and managing director for Boston Consulting Group.

Meanwhile Palomba has led Costa Cruises for the past several years, with responsibility for managing all aspects of the brand. He also served as the brand’s SVP, Hotel Operations and Guest Experience, in addition to other senior roles.

Ashford departed Carnival Corp. at the end of May 2020, along with MSC’s Rick Meadows, after a six-year stint. As President of Holland America, Ashford reinvigorated the brand by doubling down on gourmet dining and top-level enrichment, and offering a new and welcome focus on live music. Ashford also saw Holland America through the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the height of the crisis, when the Zaandam and the Rotterdam were denied port access, Ashford penned an open letter saying the stranding of the Zaandam and the Rotterdam was a humanitarian issue, calling on government officials to do the right thing and permit the ships to dock.

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