Royal Caribbean International has announced that Stuart Leven, Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International (UK and Ireland), will be promoted to Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Managing Director of RCL Cruises Ltd.
This new role will include responsibility for Royal Caribbean International (UK and Ireland) and Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises across the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stuart will work with Royal Caribbean’s key European markets to ensure the cruise operator has the best investment in place to capitalise on the swell of interest in cruise holidays across the region.
“Stuart is a proven leader with many years’ board experience across the airline, hotel and dotcom sectors,” said Gavin Smith, Senior Vice President International, RCL Cruises Ltd. “He joined us with a clear vision to build a distinct brand and attract a new audience to cruise. Royal Caribbean International in the UK and Ireland has seen unprecedented growth under Stuart’s watch and his experience and expertise will be vital as we look to expand our European deployment.”
Stuart joined Royal Caribbean International in 2013 with an impressive 20-year track record of delivering sustainable profit growth in the European leisure and hospitality industry. He previously held senior commercial roles with businesses such as Intercontinental Hotels Group and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
His appointment comes as the cruise industry continues to ride a growing wave of popularity, with Royal Caribbean International poised to expand its deployment in the region after the success of Harmony of the Seas in Europe this year. In 2015, nearly 6.6 million Europeans chose a cruise holiday over a land-based holiday – with Europe one of the most popular destinations. With its wide choice of destinations, 608 million international cruise tourists arrived in 2015, accounting for more than 50% of the tourism market share globally.
“We have seen the European cruise market grow 111% in the last 10 years and there has been over $17 billion of investment,” said Stuart. “As a business, Royal Caribbean is known for driving the industry forwards through creative innovation, industry-leading cruise ships, and extraordinary experiences. We have a fantastic opportunity to realise our potential in Europe and I am delighted to be at the helm ahead of such an exciting journey.”
Ben Bouldin will be promoted to Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International (UK and Ireland), reporting into Stuart Leven, also effective immediately. Ben joined Royal Caribbean International as Director of Sales, UK and Ireland, in 2014, having previously held a number of senior roles at PepsiCo International domestically and internationally over a 17-year period.
In his three years with the business to date, he has re-engineered and strengthened the UK and Ireland sales team, step changed the company’s approach to commercial incentivisation, and launched the brand’s award-winning agent recognition programme ‘Club Royal’ – all key steps in building and rewarding strong trade relationships and helping convert more British and Irish holidaymakers to cruising.
Ben said: “I am absolutely delighted to be leading the Royal Caribbean International UK and Ireland business. It’s an incredible opportunity at an exciting time for the cruise market. We have an extraordinary team here in the UK and Ireland and I look forward to building on the work Stuart has started during his tenure.”