President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) Frank J. Del Rio has announced his retirement and will step down from his roles, including his position on the cruise line’s board of directors, effective June 30, 2023.
According to a press release issued Monday (March 20). Del Rio will continue to serve in a consultant capacity as a senior advisor to the board through 2025.
Meanwhile, Harry J. Sommer, who has served as president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line since 2020, has been appointed to succeed Del Rio. He will also join the company's board of directors, effective July 1, 2023.
David J. Herrera, who has served as chief consumer sales and marketing officer of NCL since 2021, will succeed Sommer as president of NCL, effective April 1, 2023.
Passion & dedication
Del Rio has led NCLH since 2015 and prior to that, he led Prestige Cruise International, Inc., or its predecessor, which operated Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, from 2002 until its acquisition by Norwegian.
Del Rio founded Oceania Cruises in 2002, creating a new “upper premium” market space in the cruise industry.
During his tenure, Del Rio led the company in welcoming eight new ships since 2015, introducing the second private island destination, Harvest Caye, while achieving strong yields and financial results, the company says.
Del Rio also led NCLH through the COVID-19 pandemic, the “most tumultuous time in its 56-year history,” and was a vocal leader and advocate for the cruise industry as it worked to resume cruise operations globally.
Sommer, 55, has more than 30 years of cruise industry experience across sales, marketing, revenue management, passenger services, itinerary development and international business development and operations.
Sommer also expanded his responsibilities in recent months to include oversight for all of the company’s other revenue-generating functional areas, including Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the tri-branded Onboard Revenue department.
Previously, he served as president, international and throughout his career also held executive roles at various cruise operators.
“On behalf of the Board and the entire organization, I thank Frank for his invaluable contributions to this company and the cruise industry throughout the last 30 years,” said Russell W. Galbut, chairman of the board of directors of NCLH. “He has delivered superior financial results, expanded our fleet with luxurious and innovative ships, strengthened our global footprint and delivered unparalleled experiences for our guests. His passion and dedication will have a lasting impact on both our business and the industry at large.”
In a statement, Del Rio said that leading Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has “been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career.”
“My heartfelt gratitude goes out to our 39,000 team members around the globe whose innovation, tenacity and collaboration have strengthened this company and built the industry’s most passionate and loyal base of cruisers,” he said. “With the company solidly positioned for 2023 and beyond, I am confident that now is the right time to pass the baton to Harry. Having worked closely with Harry for decades, I know firsthand that his talent and skills are ideally suited to take this company into its next era.”
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Harry, the board and our management team during the coming months to ensure a seamless transition and I am delighted to continue to serve as a senior advisor to the board after the transition.”
NCLH has released the following video featuring Frank J. Del Rio and Harry J. Sommer, discussing next steps.