According to my records, this is blog entry 208. An inauspicious number. But it happens to be the entry where I note that after 12 years of overseeing the Royal Caribbean International brand, I have changed positions at the company. As many of the readers know by now, two weeks ago I became President & COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the parent company of our group.
Before I write about what the new position means, I will comment about what my old position meant. In short, it meant I had the incredible honor of leading the men and women of one of the world’s great vacation brands. It meant direct involvement in the relentless effort to Deliver the Wow to millions of guests every year, helping our customers to form some of their most cherished memories of quality time with significant others, family and friends. It meant working with an amazingly talented and committed leadership team that demonstrated its resilience over and over again as we encountered unexpected developments throughout the world. It meant countless hours in conference rooms with colleagues devising the greatest cruise ships the world has ever seen. It meant working with travel agents around the world to ensure their support and understanding of our brand. And much more.
In my new position, I have the opportunity to work with the management teams of each of our six brands as they pursue continuous improvement in everything they do. While we encourage and empower these management teams to execute against their respective brands’ strategic plan, behind the scenes there are many critical functions that provide to several or all of the brands what we call shared services. Most of these have now become my direct responsibility such as Human Resources, Information Technology, and Safety & Environment. As always, we have a lot of work ahead of us, both in the U.S., our largest market, and throughout our expanding global footprint.
Not everything I do will be behind the scenes, of course. Interacting with the media appears to be a responsibility that I cannot escape under any set of circumstances. I will continue to represent the company and the industry through the two industry associations CLIA and FCCA.
Not everything I do is fully sorted out. One of the questions we need to think through is what becomes of this blog. But there is no emergency and we will take our time to get the next steps right. No matter what we decide, a lot of the next six months will consist of bringing you along for the ride as we prepare to bring Quantum of the Seas into service. My colleague Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Royal Caribbean International’s Executive Vice President of Operations, will be our primary tour guide. It will be an exciting ride.