Arnold Donald Hands Over Carnival Corp.'s Leadership to Weinstein

Arnold Donald transitions from CEO of Carnival Corp
Donald led the corporation for nine years producing its highest profits in its history (Carnival Corp.)

Published Apr 26, 2022 7:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Arnold Donald, currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation, will be transitioning to the role of Vice Chair this August handing the reins of the world’s largest cruise corporation to the current Chief Operations Officer Josh Weinstein. Donald, who became one of the most recognized leaders of the cruise industry and one of only a few African-Americans to head a multi-billion-dollar corporation, oversaw Carnival’s transition from industry consolidator to its most profitable period in history.

Donald, who has been a director of the corporation since 2001, was named to lead the corporation succeeding Micky Arison, son of the cruise line’s founder, Ted Arison. During his nine-year tenure, Donald focused on streamlining the corporation, forming a new organization to better leverage the brands, and a management structure consolidating the acquisitions of famed brands ranging from Holland America to Costa, Cunard, and P&O-Princess. The corporation’s nine brands honed their identities and reduced market overlap while leveraging the strength of the corporation to enhance financial results. He focused the operations, selling or closing niche brands, and also helped reshape the company's fleet profile with newer, more efficient, and more environmentally advanced ships. 

Pre-pandemic, Carnival Corporation achieved record results including the company's highest profits in its history. During the pandemic, Donald led efforts to further rationalized the company’s fleet selling 19 of its oldest vessels while also raising billions of dollars to finance the operations. Following the extended pause, Carnival laid out its strategy to restart and rebuild operations expecting to have all of its cruise ships back in service by the upcoming summer seasons in each of their markets.

Donald in 2022 also took on the role of Chief Climate Officer as the company sought to get beyond some difficult history in its environmental performance. During his tenure, one of the company’s brands, Princess Cruises, was indicted and pleaded guilty to illegal dumping which has led to court supervision of the environmental programs. Starting in 2018, with its AIDA brand, the corporation however also became the first in the cruise industry to introduce ships operating full-time on LNG and since then has expanded the use of the alternative fuel to ships for its Costa, P&O, and Carnival Cruise Line bands with additional LNG-fueled ships on order.

His rise from his youth in a poor New Orleans neighborhood to CEO often cited as a role model was detailed in a 2017 edition of The Maritime Executive. Age 67, Donald’s career spans nearly four decades, with a variety of senior leadership positions in several industries, including 23 years at agrichemical and biotech company Monsanto and chairman/CEO positions with Merisant, the parent company of the Equal sweetener brand.

Weinstein, age 48 and a 20-year veteran of Carnival Corporation takes the leadership at a critical time in the corporation’s history. Its best-known brand Carnival Cruise Line just marked its 50th anniversary and faces renewed competition as the industry moves beyond the pandemic and competitors continue to introduce new ships and innovations. 

In his role as Chief Operations Officer, Weinstein for the past two years oversaw all major operational functions including global maritime, global ports and destinations, global sourcing, global IT, and global auditing. During this time, he also oversaw Carnival UK, which he previously managed directly for three years as president. Prior to his role with Carnival UK, Weinstein was treasurer for Carnival Corporation for 10 years and joined the company in 2002 as an attorney in the corporate legal department.