St. Augustine grad tapped to lead Carnival Corporation
8th July 2013 · 0 Comments
Arnold Donald, a New Orleans native and longtime St. Louis corporate executive, has been tapped to lead Carnival Corp. as its new CEO as the world’s largest cruise company seeks to recover from a spate of ship malfunctions, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported late last month.
Donald, 58, has served on the Miami-based company’s board of directors for 12 years. He officially took over the helm at Carnival Corp on July 3.
“He has been an asset (and) he will be an asset to the future of this organization,” Micky Arison, who has served as CEO since 1979 and will remain on Carnival’s board, told reporters in a recent conference call. “I’m very pleased that he’s agreed to take on this role and will drive the company to the next level.”
Donald, a graduate of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, worked at Monsanto Co. for more than two decades beginning in 1977, and was president of the Creve Coeur-based company’s agricultural group and president of its nutrition and consumer business. He also was among a group of investors who bought Equal from Monsanto in 2000 and co-founded and led sweetener and manufacturer Merisant Co. as chairman until 2003. He previously served as CEO of Merisant.
Donald said he’s excited about growth opportunities in the cruise ship industry. “Three percent of vacationers actually cruise, and we have a huge upside from those who have never cruised,” he said in a recent interview with the Post-Dispatch. “Once they do, they’re convinced.”
In addition to Carnival, Donald also is a board member of Bank of America, Laclede Group, Washington University, BJC HealthCare, Crown Holdings and Carleton College, in addition to several St. Louis cultural and civic groups, including the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Sports Commission. Donald said he’s evaluating which boards he may exit due to time constraints associated with his new role at Carnival.
Donald takes over the reins at Carnival as the company continues to work to regain customers’ confidence after several incidents this year. In February, the Carnival Triumph was adrift for five days in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire caused the ship’s main power to go out, leaving 3,100 passengers stranded on the ship with limited food and access to bathrooms. At least two other Carnival ships had malfunctions this year that led to voyage cancellations.
“We’ve taken steps to improve comfort in those extreme circumstances and mitigate those circumstances,” Donald told the Post-Dispatch. He pointed out that Carnival has had fewer incidents on average than its peers. “Our promise to guests is an enjoyable, exceptional vacation experience at a great value,” he said.
Carnival’s brands include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises in Australia and P&O Cruises in the United Kingdom.
Despite living in Missouri, Donald remains a proud Purple Knight alum and New Orleans native who continues to provide seniors at St. Aug and Xavier Prep with full scholarships to his alma mater, Carleton College, a private liberal arts institution in Northfield, Minnesota. According to the college’s official website, the annual coat of attending Carleton College is $58,149, which includes tuition, activity fees, and room and board.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This article originally published in the July 8, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.