Carnival Makes Leadership Changes at HAL, Costa

Carnival Corporation announced another set of moves within its global leadership team as part of the company’s broader efforts to enhance operations and best prepare the organization for the eventual resumption of cruising amid the coronavirus health crisis.

Gus Antorcha, currently chief operations officer for the group’s Carnival Cruise Line brand, has been named president of the company’s Holland America Line, while Neil Palomba, currently president of the company’s Italy-based Costa Cruises, has been named executive vice president and chief operations officer for Carnival Cruise Line, both effective immediately.

Meanwhile, Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group & Carnival Asia, will add the role of Costa Cruises president, and Mario Zanetti has been named chief commercial officer of Costa Cruises while maintaining his role as president Costa Group Asia.

“We are using this pause in guest operations to evaluate every aspect of our business, including our leadership structures, and make changes where appropriate to improve our business,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced plans to restart some of its voyages in phases, while Costa Cruises has suspended sailings through August 15 and Holland America Line has canceled all cruises from Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England for 2020.

Reporting to Stein Kruse, group CEO of Holland America Group and Carnival UK, Antorcha will guide Holland America Line’s return to cruise operations and plans for future growth, including sales and marketing, revenue management, deployment and itinerary planning, public relations, guest services operations and strategic planning.

Antorcha has held several key leadership roles over nine years with Carnival Cruise Line. Prior to becoming chief operations officer, Antorcha served as Carnival Cruise Line’s executive vice president, guest services, responsible for onboard operations, and senior vice president, guest commerce. He previously served as a partner and managing director for Boston Consulting Group.

Reporting to Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy, Palomba will oversee hotel operations, guest services, guest commerce and guest care. Over the next few weeks he will continue to oversee the resumption of Costa operations while progressively taking over the new responsibilities.

Since February 2015, Palomba has led Costa Cruises, with responsibility for managing all aspects of the brand, including strategy, product design, guest care, sales, marketing, revenue management and fleet deployment, among others. Under his leadership, Costa Cruises introduced its “Italy’s Finest” brand positioning, debuted a number of guest and onboard experience innovations and launched Costa Smeralda, the brand’s first cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).  

Prior to becoming president of Costa Cruises, Palomba served as the brand’s senior vice president, hotel operations and guest experience beginning in January 2014. Previously, he held multiple leadership positions in the cruise industry, working up to corporate operating officer for MSC Cruises, following multiple onshore and onboard roles, including positions in the hotel and deck departments on board a cruise ship and rising to serve as a second officer.

In his new role, Zanetti will be based in Genoa and will hold the responsibility of the overall commercial operation of the Costa Cruises, reporting to Thamm, while keeping his role of president Costa Group Asia.

Zanetti has been a senior executive within Costa Cruises for the last two decades, having held key positions with entrepreneurial and leadership capabilities. In his role of president of Costa Asia he has developed and executed a number of new business strategies and fleet renewal efforts.

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