Carnival Corp. has named two new brand presidents as it continues an executive retooling begun a year ago; one is a complete outsider, and the other is the ultimate Carnival insider.
Starting Dec. 1, former management consultant Orlando Ashford will become president of Holland America Line (HAL), a job vacant since Stein Kruse was elevated to be CEO of the newly formed Holland America Group a year ago.
Ashford comes from the New York-based global consulting firm Mercer, where he was president of the talent business segment.
At the same time, Carnival tapped HAL executive vice president Richard "Rick" Meadows, a 29-year company veteran, to become president, North America, of Cunard Line.
Ashford will report to Kruse, who in turn reports to Carnival CEO Arnold Donald.
In his new role at Cunard, Meadows will report to David Noyes, who runs Cunard as CEO of Carnival UK.
However, Meadows will also retain his second position as president of Seattle-based Seabourn, the luxury brand that is also part of Kruse's Holland America Group.
Carnival said Meadows will gradually step away from his current Holland America Line role where he is executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs.
"With Rick having worked at so many brands within the Carnival Corp. portfolio, we are eager to leverage his knowledge, experience and skills to advance the Cunard brand in North America," said Noyes from the line's headquarters in Southampton.
Ashford's experience lies entirely outside the cruise business or even the hospitality industry. His management background is especially strong in human resources.
Prior to his current job at Mercer, he was senior vice president, chief human resources and communications officer of Mercer's parent company, insurance giant Marsh & McLennan.
In other jobs, he had served as group director of human resources at Coca-Cola and vice president of global human resources strategy and organizational development at Motorola.
Ashford, 45, is on the board of directors of ITT Corp. and is vice chairman of the Executive Leadership Council, a networking group for black executives, where Donald served as president until 2012.
In October, Ashford's book "Talentism" was published by Mercer. In it, Ashford addresses the global disconnect between jobs that go begging and the estimated 202 million eligible workers who are unemployed worldwide.
In hiring Ashford, Kruse lauded him for bringing "a career's worth of global experience leading high-performance teams."
Meadows is a Carnival lifer, having started there in 1984. He's been vice president of corporate marketing at Carnival Corp. and vice president of sales at Carnival Cruise Lines.
He was vice president for marketing at Windstar Cruises, a former subsidiary of HAL, from 1994 to 2000.
After that, he became senior vice president sales and marketing at Seabourn.
In taking over at Cunard, Meadows will extend his experience with luxury brands at Seabourn to a second luxury product, although one with much larger ships. Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2 carries 2,620 passengers, compared with 450 for Seabourn's larger ships.
But Noyes said Meadows' background in leading Seabourn is "particularly valuable."
"He understands well the nuances of delivering superior service and enriching onboard experiences, the things that directly appeal to Cunard passengers. We are thrilled to have him join our team," Noyes said.
Meadows' loyalties will be somewhat divided at Cunard. Although the line is managed through Carnival UK, its North American sales force is the same one that sells Princess Cruises in the U.S.
Princess Cruises, headed by Jan Swartz, belongs to Kruse's Holland America Group. Jackie Chase, a spokeswoman for Cunard, said there will be no changes to the way the Cunard and Princess sales teams support the brands to the trade.
The Holland America Group is the biggest group of brands within Carnival at 38 ships. Carnival's UK brands, under Carnival UK chairman David Dingle, account for 13 ships, while Carnival's European brands, run by Costa Cruises CEO Michael Thamm, have 26 ships.
The flagship Carnival Cruise Lines brand, which is searching for a replacement to retiring president and CEO Gerry Cahill, has 24 ships.