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Micky Arison hands over the bridge at Carnival

Arison, who has held the post of chief executive of the world’s largest cruise line company for 34 years, has decided that the time is right to move upstairs to the post of chairman leaving the day-to-day running of the company in the capable hands of Carnival board member Arnold Donald.

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/ By Stanley Green/

Running the world’s largest cruise line comes with a tremendous range of responsibilities, with the most prominent having direct responsibility for the thousands of passengers and crew can be on board the company’s huge passenger liners as they sail the ocean waves. This awesome responsibility is one that Micky Arison has borne since 1979, leading the cruise line that his late father founded to tremendous achievements.  The decision that apparently Arison had been considering for some time has now been arrived at.

There is little doubt that the series of technical problems experienced by the shipping line over the last year has had its effect, and all of relatively minor incidents fade into comparison when the shipping line’s Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast killing 32 people and leaving thousands injured and traumatized. The ship’s Captain Francesco Schettino charged with negligence is due to be tried in an Italian court of law.

2013 has also been a difficult year for Carnival cruises with technical problems coming one after the other, with the worst (and most widely publicized) occurring in February when the Carnival Triumph drifted for four days in the Gulf of Mexico without power, leaving passengers to suffer in the most  difficult of  conditions.

Since that incident Arison has sanctioned a technical refurbishment programme for all the hundred plus liners in the fleet at a cost of $700 million

Arison, whose father Ted co-founded Carnival Cruise Lines made a statement when announcing his decision, pointing out that he had been discussing this with the board for some time now, “ I feel the timing is right to align our company with corporate governance best practices and turn over the reins after 34 years as CEO, ” Mickey Arison summed up.

As a result of these ongoing technical problems, exceptionally negative publicity that the cruise liner picked up after the Costa Concordia, a company spokesman has admitted that advanced bookings for the rest of 2013 were significantly lower than those of last year, with overall company revenue expected to fall by between two to three percent for the financial year, and costs rising due to increases in fuel of around four percent.

The Carnival Cruise line, whose brands include Canard, Costa Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises, has issued an estimate that 2013 earnings per share would be in the range of between $1.45 to $1.65, compared with $1.88 for 2012.

On the announcement shares in Carnival cruises showed an increase of 4.4 per cent to $34.67.

Micky Arison was born in Tel Aviv but left to live with his parents in Florida. Apart from his ongoing involvement with Carnival Cruise lines,  Arison is also the owner of the Miami Heat basketball team, who recently won the second consecutive NBA championship.

Arison’s current wealth is estimated to be around $6 billion , placing him in the top 200 wealthiest people in the world.

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