Frank Del Rio, President, and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., has agreed to an extension of his previous deal with an additional three years. Del Rio succeeded Kevin Sheehan on January 9, 2015, and has led the company on a successful charge in the cruise industry since then.
The new deal, which was announced in an SEC filing dated October 1, will keep Frank Del Rio at the company’s helm until the end of 2023. Del Rio has not negotiated an increase in bonuses or salary for this period, however with a base salary of $1.8 Million and the $80 Million he has received in bonuses over the last six years; this will probably not hurt him too much.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is the parent company for Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises. NCLH, until March this year, was the fastest-growing cruise company in the world, and much of this growth has been under the leadership of Del Rio.
The American Dream
Frank Del Rio first came to the U.S. when he was six-years-old. He was born in Havana, Cuba, where his father worked in the Coca-Cola company. On August 22, 1961, the young family escaped Cuba by flying to Jamaica, then Miami, before settling in Connecticut for nine years.
After attending the University of Florida, the young businessman worked his way up to Executive VP for sales and marketing at Delta Dream Vacations, where Del Rio says he ‘learned to run a business.’
After that, Frank del Rio did a stint as the Senior VP, CFO, and later Co-CEO at the failed, but fabled, Renaissance Cruises, which operated sixteen ships. Renaissance Cruises went bankrupt after September 11.
In a twist of fate, four of the Renaissance ships now sail for NCLH’s Oceania Cruises and are highly successful.
Del Rio founded Oceania Cruises in 2002, which was the start of a highly successful run. Starting with just three ships in 2002, now, just 18 years later, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has 28 ships, with more than 59.000 berths.
From Succes, To Crisis, To Succes?
It’s not all sunshine right now for Frank Del Rio. NCLH’s stock has dropped considerably in the last six months. The stock price went from $60 in January this year, to just over $16 today.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly causing havoc for the industry, how long Norwegian Cruise Line can hold out and weather the storm remains to be seen.
Frank Del Rio himself announced that the company could withstand 18 months of no revenue in May this year; however, at that time, no-one was expecting the current situation cruise companies find themselves in.
Only yesterday, the company was forced to postpone all cruises leaving between November 1 and November 30. The company was also forced to postpone all voyages onboard Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit, and Norwegian Dawn through March 2021.
So it seems that we’ve seen that Frank Del Rio can take a company from scratch and build it into one of the most successful cruise brands in the world. It is now time for Frank Del Rio to show that he can take that same company from a period of crisis and into the new normal for cruising.