Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain steps down


After more than three decades steering Royal Caribbean Group, CEO Richard Fain is stepping down.

The parent company to Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises announced Fain’s move while declaring Jason Liberty, the current CFO, will succeed him in the role. Fain will stay on as Chairman of the Board of Directors, though.

Fain will make the move official on Jan. 3, 2022, and with more than 33 years leading the company, he will be the third-longest serving CEO among businesses in the S&P 500.

His tenure saw the cruise industry welcome Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign, Voyager, Quantum and the largest cruise ships in the world, the Oasis class, as well as Celebrity’s Solstice and Edge class of ships, the most recent of which, Celebrity Apex, just sailed for the first time from Port Everglades.

He was also a steady voice during the pandemic, and Royal was among the cruise lines that pushed for safe returns to cruising using its Healthy Sail Panel in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, much of which helped steer the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.

The company first got back to business in Asia, and then with Celebrity Edge, became the first ship to sail from the U.S. in nearly a year and a half when it departed from Port Everglades on June 26, 2021.

“Given the great depth and breadth of our leadership, and the positive outlook for our business, this is the appropriate time to step aside and have Jason take over,” Fain said in a press release. “He is a highly versatile and strategic leader, who has been integral to all aspects of the company’s accomplishments and performance.”

The new CFO will be Naftali Holtz, a senior vice president for finance. Holtz and Liberty were instrumental in organizing $12 billion in financing to endure the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fain said.

Fain said he would continue to work with Liberty on the company’s ship building projects. Liberty thanked Fain for his guidance and friendship, and said he’s ready to take on the challenge of leading the company.

“Our incredible people and culture, combined with our leading brands and the most innovative fleet in the world are what make our organization so successful,” he said. “I look forward to building upon the company’s remarkable record in the years ahead.”