RCI's top marketing slot has been vacant since the departure of svp Carol Schuster, who left following the introduction of Quantum of the Seas. She held the position for 1.5 years.
Berra will be responsible for brand strategy and positioning, consumer and trade advertising, web and loyalty marketing, research, brand development and communications, reporting directly to Michael Bayley, president and ceo.
'With so many exciting initiatives on the immediate horizon for our brand, we feel that Jim's impressive history of creativity and proven results will continue the momentum of innovation the brand has created,' Bayley said.
He is the second major Carnival figure to decamp to Royal Caribbean, following Mark Tamis in February. From svp guest operations at Carnival, Tamis became svp hotel operations at Royal, also reporting to Bayley. Berra is the second senior Carnival brand executive to be leaving in a period of days, along with evp Rubén Rodríguez.
There was no immediate word from Carnival on a successor to Berra.
He has been a high-profile figure, overseeing advertising, customer relations, marketing communications, public relations and digital efforts. Berra fostered several marketing campaigns including 'Moments That Matter,' 'land versus sea,' 'Fun Director' and 'Didja Ever?' and was instrumental in helping the brand recover from the negatives of the Carnival Triumph and other ship incidents by promoting such initiatives as the Great Vacation Guarantee.
Under Berra Carnival forged a number of brand and marketing partnerships, had wave season US national television advertising during the Winter Olympic Games and a heightened digital marketing focus.
He also has played a visible industry role as chairman of Cruise Lines International Association's marketing committee.
Berra joined Carnival from global media company Rodale. Earlier he was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.