Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced this week that its president and CEO Andy Stuart will step down at the end of this year, following the launch of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore. Stuart will be replaced by Harry Sommer, the current President, International for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH).
According to NCL, Stuart, who was appointed president and CEO in 2015, will stay on as a senior advisor through March 31, 2020 to ensure a smooth transition.
“Andy has accomplished everything possible in the cruise industry, including leading its most storied and innovative brand. He will leave on a high note after delivering the brand’s latest ship, Norwegian Encore, the last ship in the most successful ship class in the Company’s history,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCLH.
In a statement, Stuart, who just last year celebrated his 30th year at Norwegian Cruise Line, said, “I could only have dreamed about my journey at Norwegian when I joined the company in 1988 and am extremely fortunate to have witnessed firsthand the incredible evolution of this pioneering brand.”
Stuart has served in a variety of roles since joining Norwegian in 1988, including President and Chief Operating Officer; Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Passenger Services; Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Passenger Services. He got his start at NCL's small office in the U.K., two years after he finished his degree at Bournemouth University in Dorset, England.
Stuart is largely credited with helping NCL create Freestyle Cruising in 2001, something that has helped to develop the cruise industry into what it is today. Freestyle Cruising allowed Norwegian to lead the movement to let cruisers dine when they want, where they want, and with whom they want. Before that, cruising followed the schedule of coupling early dinners or late dinners with an early show or late show in the ship’s theatre.
He also helped create NCL's travel advisor outreach program, Partners First, in 2015.
“I am honored to have played a role in the leadership position Norwegian now holds in this incredible industry and continue to be proud of the commitment, dedication and passion of our team for delivering a best-in-class vacation experience,” Stuart said.
Stuart’s replacement, Sommer, has been serving as President, International for NCLH since 2018, responsible for sales, marketing, public relations, and office operations for NCL, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. He had initially joined NCLH in 2000 and then rejoined in 2008, serving in a variety of different positions including EVP international business development.
In a statement, Sommer, who has worked with Stuart closely over the last few years, said, “I look forward to working with all of our incredible partners worldwide, building off the strong position the brand holds today and charting the strategy for the next phase of Norwegian’s journey.”