News Column

Carnival Decides It Needs a New Skipper

June 26, 2013
Carnival Inspiration (photo: Creative Commons)
Carnival Inspiration (photo: Creative Commons)

Micky Arison, boss of Carnival, the world's biggest cruise ship firm, has been forced to walk the plank.

He will step down as chief executive next month after the board decided to split the top job from the chairmanship.

It is a genuine sea change for Carnival, where Arison had been at the helm since 1979.

He will be succeeded as Arnold W Donald, who has served on the company's board for the past 12 years.

The news made Carnival, headquartered in Miami but listed in London, the fastest rising stock on the FTSE 100, up 116p to close at 2291p.

Traders applauded the decision to set a course for calmer seas after an agonising 18 months that began when the Costa Concordia liner sank in January 2012, with the loss of 32 lives.

The sight of one of Carnival's floating hotels half-submerged on its side in waters off the Italian coast damaged the entire cruise ship industry. But Carnival fared even worse as the months rolled past.

Even as the Costa Concordia faded from news coverage, the firm was buffeted by fresh cruise ship horror stories.

Earlier this year the Carnival Triumph docked in Alabama after a loss of power that left 4,000 customers in stifling heat with precious little food. A month later the Carnival Dream turned into a nightmare as technical failures saw guests flown home from the Caribbean, bringing with them tales of overflowing toilets and power cuts.

There was a glimmer of hope for the company yesterday, as it outperformed analysts' forecasts with a second-quarter pre-tax profit of pounds sterling 27m, triple the pounds sterling 9m it managed in the same period of last year.

Shareholders will also enjoy the retention of their dividend at 25 US cents per share.

But the future is hardly plain sailing. Cumulative advance bookings for the rest of 2013 are behind last year, while the firm predicts lower revenues and higher costs.

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(c)2013 Daily Mail (London, )

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Source: Copyright Daily Mail (London, England) 2013


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