Josh Weinstein walked into his first interview at Carnival Corp. with jeans on.
It was 2002, and the attorney had never been on a cruise before and
knew zilch about the company. All he knew was he wanted to run away from
his job handling mergers and acquisitions at a law firm and craved a
sense of satisfaction in his work.
But the day after Weinstein applied for a job as an in-house
attorney, Carnival's general counsel called him, insisting he interview
that day despite being dressed for "casual Friday." Unprepared and
hesitant, Weinstein obliged. He said he got such a good feeling from the
people he met at the interview that when they offered him the job on
the spot at a 40% pay cut from what he was making, he took it.
Twenty years later, Weinstein is now the CEO of the world's largest
cruise company. As the leader of Carnival Corp., he oversees its nine
cruise brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America
Line, Cunard, Seabourn, Costa, Aida, P&O and P&O Australia –
more than 100,000 employees and the company's mission to make people
happy. He began on 1 August.
With Weinstein's promotion comes challenges beyond navigating a
comeback from the pandemic: Carnival Corp.'s stock price is in the tank,
opening at US$9.51 on 24 August compared with hitting US$51.90 in
January 2020; its debt load is high; and inflation, fluctuating fuel
prices and staff shortages dog the industry.
Weinstein, 48, steps into this role replacing outgoing CEO Arnold
Donald, a gregarious businessman tapped in 2013 to lead the company out
of a different kind of crisis, mostly one of public and travel agent
relations, after a fire on the Carnival Triumph and the Costa Concordia
disaster. Donald led Carnival Corp. forward as the face of the company
and helped repair damaged relationships with travel advisors.
contrast, Weinstein is admittedly a numbers guy who considers himself
well-suited to navigate the company out of its financial woes. He was
most recently COO, and prior to a stint as president of Carnival UK
spent a decade as the corporation's treasurer. He doesn't see himself so
much as the guy in the spotlight but the man behind the curtain.
"We have nine brands with really strong brand presidents who really
are the face of those brands and the commercial leads for each of those
strong organisations," Weinstein said. "My job is to make sure that they
are doing what they need to do, inclusive of working effectively and
collaboratively with their trade partners. I think everyone will get
more value of me making sure that's happening versus the focus being on
Weinstein spent most of his career working with numbers and complex
operations rather than as a sales guy who shines in the spotlight. He
considers himself down-to-earth, inquisitive and someone who likes to
engage with people.
"It doesn't matter what level they are, it doesn't matter what they
do. Good ideas can come from anywhere, frankly," he said. To that
effect, he sees travel advisors without distinction from team members
employed by Carnival Corp. and said he is planning to meet with a broad
range of travel agent partners.
While Weinstein stressed the importance of a supportive work culture,
he pointed to the company's looming debt and the need to generate cash
to pay it down as a major focal point.
"We will rebuild our financial fortress," he said.
He has his work cut out for him. The cruise industry is still in a
challenging environment as it works to recover from the pandemic, and
Carnival Corp. is no exception. While the company reported in July that
booking volume has been higher than 2019 levels since April, advance
bookings were at lower prices. The company expects losses to continue
for 2022 as inflation, fuel prices and staff shortages impact the
Johanna Jainchill contributed to this report.
Source: Travel Weekly