Norwegian Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer
Kevin Sheehan serves as the chief executive officer and president of Norwegian Cruise Line. Since taking the helm in 2008, he has overseen major initiatives including vastly improving on-board service and amenities across the fleet; expanding the line's European presence; repositioning two of the line's Hawai'i-based ships creating a profitable business model; revitalizing top management with a mixture of cruise industry and outside expertise; and using his extensive 30-year background in the business world to help Norwegian post a sharp turnaround in profitability in the midst of a tough economic climate. He has also focused the organization on delivering increased guest service which has raised guest satisfaction scores to record levels and he has instituted "Partners First," the company's corporate philosophy of putting its travel partners first. In January 2013, Sheehan led the completion of the company's successful initial public offering on NASDAQ under the symbol "NCLH."
Sheehan comes from a diverse professional background that includes helping to found Spanish-language television network Telemundo; taking several companies public including rental car giant Avis; aiding in the inception and launch of the Sega Channel, the first interactive game platform over cable; teaching full-time at Adelphi University in New York and consulting for a variety of private equity firms, including Apollo Management, a Norwegian shareholder.
He has brought business acumen to a unique industry and has integrated best practices from the corporate realm to steer Norwegian towards the next generation of Freestyle Cruising with the unveiling of the line's most innovative ships and industry game-changers, the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway in April 2013 and sister ship Norwegian Getaway in January 2014. The 146,000-ton vessels boast a buzz-worthy array of ground-breaking entertainment, dining options and design features, including the largest Aqua Park at sea and the Waterfront, a quarter-mile oceanfront promenade lined with restaurants, lounges and bars. He is also leading the planning for the company's two largest vessels to date, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss, with 4,200 passengers each for delivery in October 2015 and February 2017 respectively.
During his tenure as president and CEO of Norwegian, the cruise line has made positive headlines both nationally and internationally including being featured on CBS' hit show "Undercover Boss," which was viewed by more than 20 million people; and three one-hour behind the scenes documentaries for "Mighty Ships" by Discovery Channel Canada; and a one-hour CNBC ground-breaking documentary on the cruise industry. In addition, Norwegian Epic served as the host venue for the show stopping 34th Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular which aired on NBC as part of the ship's inaugural festivities.
Sheehan's tell-it-like-it-is persona and personal philosophy of leading by example has allowed him to reinvigorate the organization by opening lines of communication and creating a positive corporate culture.
Before joining Norwegian in 2007, Sheehan was Chairman and CEO of Cendant Corp Vehicle Services Division where he was responsible for Avis Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car, Budget Truck, PHH Vehicle Management, First Fleet and Wright Express. While there, he integrated the Avis and Budget rental car brands into one network and also successfully completed a 100 percent initial public offering of Wright Express.
Prior to joining Cendant Corp, Sheehan served in leadership positions at STT Video Partners LLP and Telemundo Group, Inc. He also spent two and a half years consulting to private equity firms and lecturing at Adelphi University in New York as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Accounting, Finance, and Economics.
He is a graduate of Hunter College and New York University Graduate School of Business, and is a Certified Public Accountant.
In 2010, he was appointed Chairman of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association's Executive Committee. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Cruise Line Industry Association's (CLIA) board and on the board of Gatehouse Media (NYSE: "GHS"), Dave and Buster's and XOJET, Inc. In June 2011, he was named "Miami Ultimate CEO" by the South Florida Business Journal. Sheehan, a die-hard New Yorker and avid basketball fan, is married with two children.
Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President
Wendy Beck joined Norwegian Cruise Line (NASDAQ: NCLH) in September 2010 bringing a high level of knowledge and expertise to Norwegian as a certified public accountant with more than 20 years of experience. As chief financial officer and executive vice president, Beck is responsible for all aspects of the company's financial disciplines including finance, treasury, accounting, corporate and capital planning, internal audit, purchasing and investor relations.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Beck served as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ) a company with more than 9,000 franchised and company-owned stores in more than 60 countries. In that role, she oversaw all aspects of finance including public company disclosers, accounting, treasury, financial planning and analysis, risk management and internal audit.
Prior to Domino’s Pizza, Beck served as senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Whataburger Restaurants, LP from May 2004 through April 2008 and served as their vice president and chief accounting officer from August 2001 through April 2004. From 1993 to 2001 she served in various roles, culminating in CFO and Treasurer at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants (NASDAQ: CHKR) (which includes Rally's Hamburgers), a fast food chain with more than 800 units in 28 states.
Her experience in finance - particularly tax - also includes six years at Lincare Holdings (NASDAQ: LNCR) from 1987 to 1993, a national home health care company.
Beck has been a director at Spartan Stores Inc., since October 2010. She previously served on the board of directors of the Women's Food Service Forum, the Texas State Aquarium, the USS Lexington and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.
Beck received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida. She has been a certified public accountant in the state of Florida 1992.
Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services
Andy Stuart is Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Passenger Services for Norwegian Cruise Line, responsible for global sales, revenue management and passenger services. In this role, Stuart directs the Company’s global distribution strategy, ensuring Norwegian continues to enhance and strengthen its relationships with travel partners as its primary distribution system. He introduced Partners First in 2011, the company’s corporate philosophy of always putting its travel partners first in three key areas: investment in long-term travel partner success; a complete focus on being easy to do business with; and a commitment to travel partners on direct business. He recently celebrated his 25th year with the company.
Senior Vice President, Consumer Research
Bob Becker joined Norwegian Cruise Line in March of 2008. As Senior Vice President of Consumer Research, Becker is responsible for all direct sales channels which service consumers who do not have a travel agent. Additionally, Becker is involved with business process improvement for other divisions, such as shore excursion sales and cruise rewards. Becker brings with him 20 years of travel industry experience, including 11 dealing directly with the consumer.
Before joining Norwegian Cruise Line, Becker held the same position at Carnival Cruise Lines where he developed the largest and most successful sales team in the travel industry. In 2002, Becker was named Sales Managements Magazine Tele-Sales Professional of the year. Prior to joining Carnival, Becker was Director of National Accounts and Travel Industry Sales at Renaissance Cruise lines.
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
George Chesney joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 2002. As Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Chesney is responsible for the company's global human resources organization.
Prior to joining Norwegian Cruise Line, Chesney served as Managing Director of Human Resources for Trans World Airlines. Chesney played an active role in leading the integration of the TWA and American Airlines cultures when the two airlines merged in 2001. Prior to joining TWA, Chesney was an independent human resources consultant for nearly nine years. Chesney has significant experience in managing domestic and international human capital matters during mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Chesney's operational and strategic management experience allowed him to provide creative and innovative solutions to his client companies across a variety of industries.
Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer
Vincent Cirel joined Norwegian Cruise Line in March 2008. As Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Cirel is responsible for all aspects of Business and Information Technology, including both tactical operations and strategic planning.
Before joining Norwegian Cruise Line, Cirel served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. After joining Regent as its first Chief Information Officer, Cirel built a world-class IT organization facilitating the systems and process requirements to fuel the Regent brand expansion. Cirel also served as a key member of the executive team facilitating the Apollo acquisition of Regent. Prior to joining Regent, Cirel served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Grand Expeditions (GEI). As VP/CIO, he was a key contributor to the M&A activities of GEI as a roll-up of eight global luxury travel brands.
In addition to key industry memberships and certifications, Cirel holds several degrees including a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as an MBA from Vanderbilt University.
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
Dan Farkas is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Corporation Ltd. In this position, Farkas oversees the Legal, Risk Management, Corporate Governance and Compliance, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, Medical Services, Passenger and Crew Claims and Government Affairs areas of Norwegian Cruise Line. Farkas is the Company's Chief Ethics Officer and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, as well as various other committees within the Norwegian Cruise Line Group.
Farkas joined Norwegian Cruise Line in January 2004 and previously held the positions of Vice President and Assistant General Counsel. Farkas was formerly a Partner in the Miami offices of the law firm Mase & Gassenheimer where he specialized in maritime litigation. Prior to that, he was an Assistant State Attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer
Howard L. Flanders joined Norwegian Cruise Line in April 2008. As Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, Flanders is responsible for all aspects of Treasury, Tax, Internal Audit, Corporate Planning and the Controller's group.
Flanders has over 25 years of Finance and Treasury experience. Before joining Norwegian Cruise Line, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of All American Semiconductor, a publicly held electronics components distributor in Miami, Florida. Prior to that, Flanders held positions with Reliance Group Holdings, as well as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, both in New York.
Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations
Michael Flesch joined Norwegian Cruise Line in November 2009. As Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Flesch is responsible for all aspects of hotel operations, including food and beverage, entertainment, guest services and housekeeping, across the company’s fleet of ships and delivery of its Freestyle Cruising experience. Flesch ensures the product is of unparalleled quality and value and consistent with the Company’s brand positioning and marketing. His efforts are focused on the continual improvement of the guest proposition while finding operational efficiencies that increase the value of the company for its shareholders. Before assuming his current role in July 2010, Flesch was Norwegian’s Vice President, Hotel Operations.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Flesch served as Senior Vice President for Dave and Busters, Inc., a high-volume restaurant and amusement center company generating $550+ million in annual revenue. Flesch developed operational strategies and budgets for established locations and oversaw the expansion of new sites. He supervised regional operation directors and managers nationwide and oversaw key support areas, including human resources, facilities and local store marketing and menu development.
Senior Vice President, Revenue Management & Passenger Services
Crane Gladding joined Norwegian Cruise Line in October 2005. As Senior Vice President, Revenue Management and Passenger Services, Gladding oversees reservations, air/sea, customer relations and revenue management.
Before joining Norwegian Cruise Line, Gladding spent six years as a travel agent with National Leisure Group (NKA World Travel Holdings) and the MyTravel Cruise Division which represented brands including CruisesOnly, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. During his tenure, he led sales, customer service, back office operations, strategic planning, product & inventory and training.
Senior Vice President, Newbuilding
Christer Karlsson joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 2004. As Senior Vice President, New Build, Karlsson is responsible for all aspects of technical, interior and exterior design for Norwegian’s new building projects. Karlsson initially joined Norwegian in the role of Site Manager, New Build. He was then promoted to Project Manager, New Build in 2005, and later as Vice President, New Build in 2008. In 2013, Karlsson was promoted to his current role as Senior Vice President, New Build.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Karlsson spent eight years with Star Cruises in Asia, holding various shipboard positions mainly as Chief Engineer until 2000 when he joined the corporate office in Kuala Lumpur as Director, Technical Superintendent. He also served as Vice President Purchasing & Logistics for one year at Star Cruises prior to joining Norwegian. Prior to that, he held positions with Swedish shipping companies as Chief Engineer and Technical Superintendent. He also spent three years in the offshore industry working on various rigs in Mexico and the North Sea.
Originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, Karlsson is presently living in Papenburg, Germany with his wife as part of Norwegian’s new build team for the company’s two upcoming ships. He received a Bachelor of Marine Engineering at Chalmers University of Marine Engineering in Gothenburg .
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
John McGirl joined Norwegian Cruise Line in September 2014 as senior vice president and chief human resources officer. McGirl has responsibility for Norwegian’s shipboard and shoreside global human resources.
Most recently, McGirl was chief human resources officer for the Naples Community Healthcare System, a large, multi-facility healthcare organization on Florida’s gulf coast. Prior to joining NCH, he was vice president of human resources at Royal Caribbean International and prior to that at Cunard/Seabourn.
McGirl’s experience has included building customer/guest centric organizational cultures, aligning of human resource programs and practices with strategic business needs, designing and executing programs to support mergers, integrations and expansion, along with ensuring that team members are engaged, involved and excited.
He has a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Sheffield Hallam University, UK and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Business Administration at Sheffield Business School.
Senior Vice President, Marketing
As a seasoned marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience, Maria Miller joined Norwegian in June 2009 as Senior Vice President, Marketing. In this role, she is responsible for all of the company's marketing efforts, including advertising, branding, direct marketing, web site/e-commerce and market research.
Miller most recently served as chief marketing officer at Dallas-based Dave & Buster's, one of the country's premier entertainment/dining concepts with 52 locations throughout the United States and in Canada. Prior to that, she worked as a marketer and consultant within the technology industry. In addition, Maria has a wealth of increasingly responsible travel industry experience as the senior vice president of marketing with Avis and several executive level positions with American Express.
Maria received her undergraduate degree in business administration from New York University in New York City and has an MBA from Stanford University.
Senior Vice President, Sales
Camille Olivere joined Norwegian Cruise Line in March 2009. As Senior Vice President, Sales, Olivere is responsible for leading the company’s Americas travel agency, corporate meetings, incentive and charter sales channel.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Olivere held a number of senior sales positions at Travelport, a leading provider of business services to travel and travel-related businesses worldwide. Most recently, she served as Travelport’s Vice President, Sales, Global e-Commerce division. Prior to that, as a result of the merger of Worldspan and Galileo, she headed up the team that designed and implemented the new global commercial organization. Olivere also led high performance sales teams at Oracle, Rosenbluth International Travel (now American Express), Signature Group (now GE Financial) and United Airlines. Olivere holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan.
Captain Svein Sleipnes
Senior Vice President, Marine Operations
Captain Svein Sleipnes joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 1982. As Senior Vice President, Marine Operations, he oversees Nautical and Port Operations for the company, as well as Fleet Regulatory Compliance. Before assuming his current role in April 2011, Sleipnes was Vice President, Nautical and Port Operations.
He has been involved in the cruise industry, both at sea and on land, for nearly three decades, beginning his career as a First Officer with Norwegian Cruise Line. Promoted quickly through the ranks, he became the youngest captain in the fleet just nine years later in 1991. After working as Port Captain and Director of Nautical Operations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, he returned to Norwegian Cruise Line in 2000 as Vice President of Nautical Operations. Throughout his executive tenure with Norwegian, he has been designated as Company Security Officer, directly responsible for all security-related matters throughout the entire company, on land, sea and at all port and terminal facilities.
Senior Vice President & Chief Accounting Officer
David Sprechman joined Norwegian Cruise Line in November 2008. As Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, Sprechman is responsible for all aspects of the company’s financial reporting, internal control systems, and shoreside and shipboard accounting. Before assuming his current role, Sprechman was Norwegian’s Vice President & Controller.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Sprechman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of GlobeCast America, a global provider of satellite and fiber distribution and applications for professional broadcast, enterprise, and government communications. Prior to that, Sprechman was Chief Financial Officer of Hero Productions, a leading South Florida teleport and production company. Sprechman also served as Vice President, Finance and Administration for Telemundo Productions.
He holds a Master of Science degree in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Brian W. Swensen
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations and Refurbishment
Brian W. Swensen joined Norwegian Cruise Line in May, 2009. As Senior Vice President, Technical Operations and Refurbishment, Swensen is responsible for all technical and financial aspects related to the operations of the Norwegian fleet, inclusive of all matters in keeping the ships operating in a smooth and safe manner. He also is responsible for all dry-docks and refurbishment activities for the entire fleet. Before assuming his current role, Swensen was Vice President, Technical Operations and Refurbishment.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Swensen served as Vice President, Technical Operations for Carnival Cruise Lines, where he oversaw all of technical operations and new building. Swensen also held the position of Director, Technical Operations and New Building, while at Royal Caribbean International. Before joining the cruise industry, Swensen was involved in all facets of the oil industry for nearly 20 years starting out in the executive program for Mobil Oil, which included, new construction of petroleum carriers, building of exploration vessels and oil rigs, and served as a Marine Manager of domestic and international fleets for Mobil Oil and Amerada Hess.
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