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Costa downsizes N. America office, VP Sales Scott Knutson exits

Costa Cruises is reducing its North America office from more than 20 people to a small number reporting to Dario Rustico, GM for Central and South America, based in São Paulo, Brazil.

Ruben Perez, country manager, remains, but the VP sales role, held by Scott Knutson for the past 15 years, was eliminated.

'The entire Costa management team thanks Scott for his contributions over the last 15 years and wishes him all the best for his future endeavors,' a Costa spokesperson said in a statement to Seatrade Cruise News.

Strategic market

The statement also said: 'North America is and remains a strategic market for Costa with ambitious objectives to further grow the market over time. The next steps for the local plan will be announced in the coming weeks, including a dedicated sales and marketing team, still led by Ruben Perez.'

The moves follow Costa corporate management changes announced earlier that took effect today.

'A good run'

'It's been a good run. I appreciated the oportunity at Costa and, before that, at Carnival,' said Knutson, whose tenure with the two Carnival Corp. brands totaled 35 years. 'I wish Costa the best of luck going forward.'

Knutson, who has built strong relationships with key retail groups, added: 'I would like to stay in the industry. I love it.'

Joined Carnival in 1988

He recalled how, as a United Airlines employee early in his career, he was offered a sales job at Carnival Cruise Line by Karin Viera, West Coast regional VP. In a 1988 visit to Miami headquarters, he also met then-SVP Sales & Marketing Bob Dickinson and President Micky Arison and was ready to jump to this new opportunity.

But first he wanted to check with his parents, who would be losing their family air travel benefits if Knutson left United.

'What's in it for me?' his father joked about the Carnival job.

Knutson said yes to Carnival, and his parents went on 22 cruises over the years until his father's recent death at 93.


Knutson expressed his appreciation to Maurice Zarmati, who was VP worldwide sales at Carnival before going on to lead Costa North America as president/CEO in 2008, taking Knutson with him. Knutson's been with Costa ever since. He's also thankful to Arison, Dickinson and former Carnival SVP Sales Vicki Freed.