Gerry CahillCarnival Corp. said Thursday that Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, will retire on Nov. 30.

Cahill has been the cruise line’s CEO since 2007, when he replaced the line’s longtime leader Bob Dickinson.

Cahill has been at the helm during a tumultuous period, in which the brand has had to deal with one setback after another, from the 2008 financial meltdown to the 2010 Carnival Splendor fire to the 2013 Carnival Triumph fire.

The Carnival Triumph incident was particularly damaging, as it became a major media story when the ship was stranded without power at sea for days. The negative publicity resulted in plunging sales.

Later that year the line launched a major travel agent outreach program, Carnival Conversations, which included a marketing campaign and series of road show presentations attended by senior Carnival staff, including Cahill.

Among the changes undertaken by Carnival as a result of Conversations was a simplified fare structure and improved terms of its group promotions. The line returned to television advertising and instituted a "call your travel professional" tagline on the ads.

Carnival also has launched four ships under Cahill’s watch, including the new Dream class. During that same time, the brand has upgraded many ships under the Fun Ship 2.0 initiative, including the Carnival Destiny, which emerged from drydock with a new name, the Carnival Sunshine.

Earlier this year the line said it set a single-month record for booking volume in January. At the time Cahill said Carnival was seeing heavy sales growth in all channels, particularly via agents.


No replacement has yet been named for Cahill, who has agreed to stay on in an advisory capacity for an unspecified time through a transition period.

Cahill, 63, joined Carnival Corp. in 1994 as vice president of finance. In January 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president of finance and CFO.

“Gerry has been instrumental in taking Carnival Cruise Lines to new heights as one of the preeminent brands in the cruise industry,” said Arnold Donald, Carnival Corp.’s president and CEO. “He and his team have delivered new innovations to cruising while growing the business year after year.”

Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison said, "While we would always feel his retiring is premature, we understand and support his decision. His leadership and passion, along with his honest and frank views will be missed, and we will always have a deep appreciation for Gerry’s tremendous contributions to Carnival Corp.”

Cahill called it “an honor and a privilege to lead Carnival Cruise Lines for the past seven years and to work for this great company for 20 years.”

"Deciding when to retire is not easy, especially when you love what you do,” Cahill said. “I feel the time is good for me personally and the company and brand are in a good place.”

This report was updated at 2 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 30, 2014, to include additional information about Cahill's tenure at Carnival. 

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