Carol Cabezas, who has led the brand as president since its acquisition by Sycamore Partners in 2021, is leaving now.
So until Ritzenthaler takes over, Dan Hanrahan, Azamara chair and advisor to Sycamore, will provide day-to-day leadership. He oversaw Azamara at its start, before it was even called Azamara, when he was CEO of Celebrity Cruises.
Ritzenthaler also worked with Hanrahan over her 20-year career at Celebrity. Until retiring from the line in May, she was SVP sales, trade support and services for the Americas.
Alain Ferzli becomes CFO
In another change, Alain Ferzli joins Azamara as CFO, effectively immediately. Ferzli had served as acting CFO of Virgin Voyages until November 2022 and his background includes VP finance roles at Royal Caribbean Group and Royal Caribbean International.
The next chapter
'Azamara provides a unique and exciting offering within the luxury cruise space, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the company into its next chapter,' Ritzenthaler said. 'I look forward to working with the talented team and their travel partners to better serve the customer base and grow the Azamara brand.'
Hanrahan said: 'Our team has worked diligently to maintain a solid foundation for Azamara amid unique industry-wide challenges over the last several years. Dondra and Alain’s deep knowledge of and experience leading cruise lines will support the shift of our focus to expanding our business and realizing Azamara’s full potential.'
Before becoming Azamara president, Cabezas had served as Azamara's chief operating officer for three years when the company was part of Royal Caribbean Group. She had moved to Azamara in 2017 after working as VP investor relations for the Group. Before that, she spent nearly a decade at Celebrity, where jobs included associate VP national and strategic accounts, North America; director, sales planning & analysis; and manager, revenue management.
See also a follow-up interview: 'Dan Hanrahan on Azamara's biggest challenge and opportunity'