Arison Steps Down As Carnival CEO; Remains Chairman
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One day after celebrating his team’s second straight NBA Championship, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison is in the news again Tuesday. It’s not related to the Heat; instead it’s his other job that has him making waves in the business world.
The company announced during an earnings conference call Tuesday that Arison would be stepping down as chief executive officer of the Carnival Corporation. Arison said that while he was stepping down, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Arison will remain as Chairman of the Board.
The news came as Carnival announced increased profits in the second quarter, but the numbers fell short of analysts expectations. Advance bookings for 2013 are also down from the previous year.
Arison said in a written statement that he initiated his departure.
“I have been discussing this with the board for some time,” He said. “The timing is right to…turn over the reins after 34 years as CEO.”
Carnival has had its share of disastrous publicity over the last year and a half. In January of 2012, the Carnival owned Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground at Tuscany in the Mediterranean. Thirty two passengers were killed and the Captain of the ship is facing manslaughter charges.
In February this year, the Carnival ship Triumph had an onboard fire in the Gulf of Mexico and was without power for five days and eventually towed to port. Passengers told horror stories of standing in long lines for lousy food, having to sleep on floors, raw sewage accumulating in hallways, and having to relieve themselves in hazardous waste bags because the plumbing wasn’t working.
Arison caught heat for attending a Heat game while his customers were in crisis on the Gulf.
On Capitol Hill Carnival came under withering criticism from some Senators, demanding that the cruise line compensate the government for its costs and passengers for their misery.
Other Carnival ships suffered a variety of mechanical failures that saw cruises cancelled while in progress and ships diverted to unintended destinations.
Still, industry analysts give Arison high marks for having grown Carnival into the world’s largest cruise business during his tenure as CEO. He expanded Carnival to include ten brands, operating more than a hundred ships around the world.
“I do not think he was pushed out in any way,” said analyst Stewart Chiron of Cruiseguy.com. “He is a rock of the industry. He has a very firm understanding of what’s going on.”
Succeeding Arison as CEO is Arnold Donald. Donald, a member of Carnival’s board for 12 years, is a veteran manufacturing and sales guru. He is something of an artificial sweetener magnate, having made much of his fortune running the company that produces Equal.
Arison posted a tweet on his Twitter page Tuesday afternoon, saying, “Happy to welcome Arnold Donald to his new role as Carnival CEO.”
Arison will have to change his Twitter profile however. “CEO of Carnival Corp” no longer applies.