After more than three decades occupying the role of Royal Caribbean Group's (RCG) CEO, revered industry leader Richard Fain stepped down at midnight on Monday morning.
He has now officially been replaced in the role by Jason Liberty, who previously served as the company's CFO. Naftali Holtz, formerly RCG's senior vice president of finance will move up into the role of CFO, as Liberty succeeds Fain as CEO.
Royal Caribbean Group-parent to Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, as well as co-owner of TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises-first announced Fain's decision and the January 3 transition date in early November.
"Given the great depth and breadth of our leadership, and the positive outlook for our business, this is the appropriate time to step aside and have Jason take over," Fain said at the time. "He is a highly versatile and strategic leader, who has been integral to all aspects of the company's accomplishments and performance."
Fain had decided upon the move before late November's emergence of the Omicron variant, and well before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) December 30 issuance of its current recommendation that Americans avoid cruising, regardless of their vaccination status, which will likely constitute a fresh challenge for RCG's new leadership.
In its announcement of Fain's retirement, the company wrote that he was the "third longest-serving CEO among current S&P 500 leaders". The former CEO will remain on board in an advisory capacity as the chair of the RCG's board of directors, according to USA Today.
During his tenure, Fain took Royal Caribbean from a lone brand sailing five vessels in the Caribbean to a global company with five distinct brands and 60 ships, sailing to all seven continents and over 800 destinations, and employing 85,000 people.
Fain pointed out that both Liberty and Holtz, "have done an exceptional job organizing over $12 billion of financing during this challenging period. They did so in a remarkably careful and methodical manner, which will serve us well in the years to come."
"Our success as a business has relied heavily on our culture and on the values we hold dear," said Fain. "Jason epitomizes those values, and I know he will work to build on them in this everchanging world. I couldn't be happier to have such a superbly qualified and principled leader succeed me as CEO. Jason will lead the Group to new heights."
Kimsey noted that Liberty has played "a significant part in every major initiative the company has undertaken for many years, and he was instrumental in helping manage through the pandemic. The Board enthusiastically and unanimously chose him to be the Royal Caribbean Group's next CEO."
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