Royal Caribbean Group has announced the appointment of Michael O. Leavitt to its Board of Directors. Leavitt has been instrumental in developing clear guidelines for cruise ships to return to sailing with reasoned protocols in place to respond to COVID-19, and brings a history of expertise in multiple disciplines to Royal Caribbean Group’s board.
Introducing Michael Leavitt
Michael O. Leavitt, three-time elected governor of Utah and former Secretary of Health and Human Services during President George W. Bush’s administration, has been involved in health care, environmental services, and financial administration since the 1980s.
In 1984, Leavitt became chief executive of The Leavitt Group, a family business that is now the nation’s second largest, privately held insurance brokerage. In 1993, Leavitt was elected governor of Utah, where he served three terms from 1993 through 2003. He is only the second governor in the state’s history to be re-elected to a third term.
In 2003, Leavitt was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where he implemented higher standards to control ozone, diesel fuels, and other air pollutants. In 2005, Leavitt became secretary of Health and Human Services, where he served until 2009. In that position, he administered a $750 billion budget — nearly 25 percent of the entire federal budget — and 67,000 employees. Leavitt currently serves on the board of directors of American Express.
Leavitt’s Involvement With the Cruise Industry
Leavitt co-chaired the Healthy Sail Panel, a group of multi-disciplinary experts that collaborated to develop recommendations for cruise lines to safely respond to COVID-19 and return to a safe resumption of operations.
“Governor Leavitt’s leadership of the Healthy Sail Panel and tireless work to synthesize cross-disciplinary expertise into safety guidelines for the entire cruise industry led directly to our successful return to sail amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Richard Fain, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Caribbean Group. “His knowledge and experience in finding solutions to public health issues will be a valuable addition to the board.”
The panel developed a comprehensive report outlining 74 best practices to protect the public health and safety of guests, crew, and local port communities. The recommendations were adopted by the entire cruise industry and submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ultimately informing public health guidance and preventative measures relating to travel on cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean was one of the first cruise lines to resume operations in North America when Adventure of the Seas set sail from its new homeport of Nassau on July 12, 2021. On June 20, Freedom of the Seas followed suit, departing from Miami on the first simulated sailing before welcoming passengers back for the first official cruise on July 2, 2021.
Leavitt joins an esteemed group of leaders that oversee Royal Caribbean Group and the operations of its three cruise lines – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea. His varied expertise and leadership experience is sure to help guide the company into a productive future.