Carnival Corp. veteran takes on new strategic Caribbean role

Marie McKenzie - will provide an additional layer of engagement with governments and communities Marie McKenzie - will provide an additional layer of engagement with governments and communities

Underscoring the importance of the Caribbean, Carnival Corp. has appointed veteran executive Marie McKenzie to a newly created role as vp global ports and Caribbean government relations.

McKenzie will provide an additional layer of engagement with governments and communities in the region that comprises a third of Carnival Corp.'s capacity this year. She now reports to Giora Israel, svp global port and destination development.

The company already has an array of regional partnerships in areas like shore excursions, port services and sourcing, however, there are other things it could be doing from a more strategic standpoint, McKenzie said.

She won't replace the individual brands' government relations folks, but will work closely with them and provide 'a layer on top of what anyone else is doing.'

For example, McKenzie could identify local organizations such as a Rotary Club, a charity or a cruise council for greater engagement, perhaps giving support to worthy causes or offering cruise line speakers for meetings and events. Carnival Corp. brands already do these things, but McKenzie can foster a more strategic approach.

She'll also liaise with the public relations teams at each brand to provide opportunities for them in key destinations and get their help to manage messaging in the region. Though she doesn't have an operating role with shore excursions and ports, people working in those areas may bring ideas to her and she may identify opportunities for them. The same goes for the port development group, which continually engages with communities and governments.

'My role does not work in isolation,' McKenzie said.

It's natural that she'll focus on places where Carnival Corp. has the most capacity, however McKenzie hopes to engage with as many destinations in the region as possible, guided by a strategic focus.

McKenzie, who hails from Jamaica, has been with Carnival more than two decades. For the past two years, she served as vp global destinations services and sourcing, reporting to Josh Leibowitz, chief strategy officer.

She's proud of creating a corporate structure and process for sourcing in those areas, which enabled the brands to communicate and source together, where appropriate, under chief procurement officer Julia Brown.

'It was two years well spent for me,' McKenzie said. 'I got to learn quite a bit about the ports and shore excursions and I met new brand partners.' That experience will help inform her current role.

Her previous job has been restructured, with shore excursions now falling under on-board revenue and ports handled separately.

Before that global destinations services and sourcing position, McKenzie was vp global financial planning and analysis. She started her career with Carnival Corp. in 1996 and held roles including vp fleet accounting at Carnival Cruise Line.

'I really grew up in this industry,' McKenzie said. She's stayed 21 years at Carnival, despite other possibilities, because of 'the great opportunities here, and I love what I do.'

Posted 22 March 2017

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review