Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart in his office in 2015 with a framed jersey from London’s Arsenal Football Club, his favourite soccer team. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart, a 31-year veteran of the company and long the company’s bridge to the travel trade, will step down at the end of the year following the delivery of the last Breakaway Plus vessel, Norwegian Encore.
Stuart is beloved by agents for his warmth, humanity and deep knowledge of the business. He will stay on with the company as a senior advisor through March 31, 2020.
Norwegian named Harry Sommer, currently president, international for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, as Stuart’s successor.
“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,” said Stuart, who is 54 years old.
Stuart became president and chief operating officer in 2015, after the surprise resignation of Drew Madsen, who was in the job only five months.
“Andy and Norwegian are virtually synonymous,” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said at the time. “He is very well known and respected by our guests, travel partners, officers, crew, and team members.
Signature Travel Network CEO Alex Sharpe said Stuart’s departure will be a blow not only to Norwegian but to the industry generally. “He’s an incredible ambassador for the cruise industry. He’s an incredible asset to the travel advisor trade. He’s just an incredible man. A good friend, a loyal guy. From that perspective, any time we lose someone of that calibre from the industry, it hurts,” Sharpe said.
Before he was named president in 2015, Stuart had been serving as executive vice president of sales. Prior to that, he had held many positions at Norwegian including global sales, passenger services, revenue management, and marketing and public relations.
“Andy has accomplished everything possible in the cruise industry, including leading its most storied and innovative brand,” Del Rio said Thursday. “He will leave on a high note after delivering the brand’s latest ship, Norwegian Encore.”
Sommer’s background includes stints at NCLH as executive vice president, international business development and executive vice president and chief integration officer.
He also held various positions at Prestige Cruise Holdings prior to its consolidation with NCLH, including chief marketing officer, senior vice president of finance, chief information officer and chief accounting officer.
Sommer holds an MBA from Pace University and a BBA from Baruch College.