Costa CEO Foschi to retire; Thamm named successor

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Carnival Corp. and its subsidiary Costa Crociere said that Pier Luigi Foschi will retire as Costa's CEO, effective July 1.

Foschi, 65, will remain as chairman and a managing director of the Costa group and remain on the board of directors of Carnival Corp., the company said.

Carnival said that Michael Thamm, president of Germany-based Aida Cruises, has been appointed CEO of Costa Crociere.

"Pier has made it known for some time that he intended to retire once he turned 65, and today's announcement is part of our longtime succession plan that allows us to tap into our talented management team to find qualified individuals to oversee our brands," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corp.

"Pier has developed Costa into a very successful and profitable organization, and we wish to thank him for his many years of dedicated service," added Arison.

Costa Crociere is the parent of Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises and Ibero Cruises.

As CEO, Foschi came under a global spotlight following the Costa Concordia accident in Italy.

Three days after the disaster, he faced reporters' questions during a media briefing held in Italy and webcast around the world. Foschi was the first to declare, during the briefing, that the Concordia captain had diverted the ship from the line's normal route after it left Civitavecchia for Savona, Italy. The captain, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest near Naples, and several high-profile lawsuits are pending against the line and its parent companies.

Long before his name became widely known as the top executive of the beleaguered Costa brand, Foschi had engineered Costa Crociere's entry into the China market when it opened its first sales office there for Costa Cruises in 2005.

The company's efforts culminated early this year in the launch of a standalone China division, Costa Cruises Shipping Service -- a first for the cruise industry that enabled the line to sell its cruises through Chinese travel agents, general sales agents and directly to Chinese consumers.

Foschi had established a wealth of business and government contacts in Asia earlier in his career, when he spent seven years in Hong Kong and Singapore overseeing Otis Elevator Co.'s Asia-Pacific operations.

Thamm will also serve on Costa's board of directors. He will relocate to Genoa, Italy, and report to Costa's board of directors, which includes Arison and Howard Frank, Carnival Corp. vice chairman and COO.

Aida senior executive Michael Ungerer has been named Aida Cruises' president, and Gianni Onorato will continue in his role as president of the Costa Cruises brand, the company said.

Foschi joined Costa Crociere as CEO in 1997 and was elected chairman in 2000. In his role as Costa's chairman, Foschi will continue to oversee the company's government relations and matters related to the Costa Concordia accident and will spearhead a number of strategic projects.

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