Sommer takes top role at NCL as Stuart steps aside

The 'planned departure' takes effect 31 December, 2019

Andy Stuart
Harry Sommer

Andy Stuart, the President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, will step down from the top job at the end of 2020. The ‘planned departure’ sees an organisational restructure at the very top ranks, with the appointment of Harry Sommer, current President, International for NCLH named as his successor.

Stuart will take a side-step on 31 December 2019, remaining with the company as Senior Advisor until 31 March, 2020 “to ensure a smooth transition,” NCLH said in a statement.

Stuart joined Norwegian in 1988 and held several key executive positions during his tenure of more than three decades, 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 oversaw the introduction of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising offering where, in an industry first, guests were freed from traditional set dining times in a single venue and given the freedom and flexibility to dine at whatever time they chose in a variety of dining venues.

“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,” Stuart said.

“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. 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 Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said: “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.

“We are extremely grateful for his leadership and contributions to Norwegian Cruise Line, our company and the cruise industry.”

Del Rio continued, “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 organisation. 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.”

Harry Sommer with Steve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for NCLH in Sydney earlier this year
Harry Sommer with Steve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for NCLH in Sydney earlier this year

Sommer said he and Andy have worked closely together over the last several years.

“I am humbled and honoured 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.”

Sommer currently serves as President, International for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. where he is responsible for all sales, marketing, public relations and office operations for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in all markets outside of the United States and Canada. He previously served as Executive Vice President, International Business Development and Executive Vice President and Chief Integration Officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings 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. Sommer holds a MBA from Pace University and a BBA from Baruch College.

Lead image: Andy Stuart gives a keynote address at the 2019 CLIA Australasia Cruise360 event in Sydney.

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