Last updated: 10:47 AM ET, Thu March 12 2015

Former NCL CEO Sues Branson's Virgin Cruises for $300 Million

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Norwegian Cruise Line | Theresa Norton | March 11, 2015

Former NCL CEO Sues Branson's Virgin Cruises for $300 Million

Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch has filed suit against Richard Branson for $300 million, accusing the British billionaire of cutting him out after he created the business plan to form the potentially lucrative Virgin Cruises.

Veitch claims he planned the start-up operation, lined up financing to build the first ship and worked out a tentative commitment with a German shipyard, according to an article by Curt Anderson, legal affairs writer for the Associated Press. Veitch was CEO of Norwegian from 2000 to 2008.

According to the AP, Veitch is asking for $300 million in damages in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Miami federal court. He is also asking the court to shut down Virgin Cruises.

Veitch’s attorney, Jeff Gutchess of the Bilzin Sumberg firm, did not immediately respond to a request for more information from TravelPulse.

The article said Veitch brought the idea for a Virgin cruise line to Branson and the two entered a partnership in early 2011. Later, Branson renegotiated the terms, essentially turning Veitch into an employee rather than a partner, Veitch alleges in the lawsuit.

“Colin looks at this and says, ‘What the heck?’ I am not an employee here. I am a founder of the business,” Gutchess said in the AP report.

In December, Branson announced the formation of Virgin Cruises, with former Disney Cruise Line executive Tom McAlpin as CEO, Bain Capital as an investor and with plans for two ships.

Branson and his Virgin Group responded with this statement: "Richard Branson and the Virgin Group first looked at the cruise market in the late 1970s, and our current team has been exploring the opportunity for more than a decade. Over the years, we have been in discussions with a number of parties including the plaintiff, and those discussions ceased in 2012. We strongly believe the claim has no merits."


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