Norwegian Cruise Line's CEO Announces Plans to Step Down

Andy Stuart aboard Norwegian Sky, 2017 (file image courtesy Andy Stuart / Twitter)

Published Oct 3, 2019 8:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart plans to step down at the end of this year, NCL announced Thursday. Stuart will be succeeded by Harry Sommer, the president of international at parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Stuart plans to depart his current role on December 31, shortly after the delivery of the newbuild cruise ship Norwegian Encore. He will stay on through the end of March in an advisory capacity. 

“I could only have dreamed about my journey at Norwegian when I joined the company in 1988,” said Stuart in a statement. “I am honored 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."

Stuart held multiple executive positions during his tenure, including EVP of sales and chief product officer. He was involved in developing many of the line’s biggest features, including "Freestyle Cruising" - the policy of allowing passengers to eat in any dining venue at any time. It was an industry first, and it played a role in Norwegian's rapid growth in the early 2000s. 

Sommer is currently responsible for sales, marketing, PR and office operations for all of Norwegian's brands in markets outside of the United States. He has previously served as the holding company's EVP for international business development and as chief integration officer (CIO). 

NCL reaches Hurricane Dorian relief goal

Separately, Norwegian announced Monday that it has reached its goal of raising - and matching - $2 million in donations to assist hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas. 

“Our company has always stood ready to help our neighbors in times of need, and now is no exception,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program and helped us meet our goal of raising $2 million to assist with emergency response and rebuilding efforts across the Bahamas. We could not have met this goal without your generosity.”

The donations and matching funds will go to the charity All Hands and Hearts, which will use the money for relief assistance, including debris cleanup and the rebuilding of houses and schools.

“This $4 million now raised is critical to ensure that we can be there to provide sustained support," said Erik Dyson, CEO of All Hands and Hearts. "The media’s attention has now moved on and our past experience shows that funding interest will drop off even as the hard work of recovery is just beginning."