Cruise industry leader Richard Fain will relinquish his title of CEO of Royal Caribbean Group in January 2022, after more than 33 years with the company.
Having steered the company through the global pandemic, Fain said now was an “appropriate time” to hand on the baton.
Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group’s Chief Financial Officer will succeed Fain and join the Board of Directors. Fain will remain as Chair of the Board of Directors.
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Fain is the third-longest serving CEO among current S&P 500 leaders. Under his leadership, the Royal Caribbean Group introduced new and distinctive ship categories, with a diverse range of amenities and experiences that transformed the nature of cruising. These transformational ships include Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign, Voyager, and Oasis classes; Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice and Edge classes; the highly anticipated Royal Caribbean International Icon class to be introduced in 2023; and Silversea Cruises’ “Project Evolution” that will become the industry’s first hybrid-powered ship when introduced in 2023.
Fain, working with Liberty, will continue his involvement in the Group’s ship construction program.
Liberty joined the Group in 2005 and served in several financial, strategic and operational roles before becoming CFO in 2013. His operational duties have expanded over the years, including taking charge of Silversea Cruises, the Group’s joint ventures with TUI Cruises and Hapag Lloyd Cruises, as well as the Royal Caribbean Group’s strategy, technology, supply chain, port operations and legal functions.
Naftali Holtz will step into the vacated role of CFO when Liberty assumes the CEO role. Holtz is currently SVP of finance for the Royal Caribbean Group, responsible for corporate, capital and revenue planning and analysis, deployment planning, risk management and treasury.
Fain said that he and RCG’s Board of Directors had developed a careful succession planning process for when he decided the time was right to step down.
“There are no words to express my admiration and appreciation to the people of the Royal Caribbean Group, who have been the real drivers of our success; and my profound appreciation for the support and guidance of the Board of Directors during good times and bad throughout this long period of sustained growth.”
Fain said that with most of the Group’s ships operating, a full return to cruising approaching, and the Group’s brands under the leadership of exceptional CEOs, it was the right time to step down.
“Given the great depth and breadth of our leadership, and the positive outlook for our business, this is the appropriate time to step aside and have Jason take over,” Fain said.
He said Liberty was a “highly versatile and strategic leader, who has been integral to all aspects of the company’s accomplishments and performance.”
“Our success as a business has relied heavily on our culture and on the values we hold dear,” said Fain. “Jason epitomises those values, and I know he will work to build on them in this everchanging world. I couldn’t be happier to have such a superbly qualified and principled leader succeed me as CEO. Jason will lead the Group to new heights.”
Liberty said he was honoured and humbled to become CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group.
“Our incredible people and culture, combined with our leading brands and the most innovative fleet in the world are what make our organisation so successful. I’m grateful to both the board for selecting me, and to Richard, for his friendship, mentoring and guidance. I look forward to building upon the company’s remarkable record in the years ahead,” Liberty said.