Del Rio is to retire and resign from the board effective June 30 but will continue as a consultant. Before this change, his departure at the end of 2023 had been planned.
Sommer president and CEO-elect
Sommer, 56, becomes president and CEO-elect effective April 1 before officially assuming the role July 1. He also will become a company director effective July 1.
The appointment — which was expected — sees the current president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line take the top spot at NCLH, which also includes Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
At the same time, Herrera, 51, will succeed Sommer as NCL president, also as expected.
Since January 2020, Sommer has been helming the 18-ship NCL brand, which has 47,735 lower berths and carries about 2.2m passengers a year. Five additional Prima-class ships are on order through 2028.
Already overseeing Oceania/Regent
He has been overseeing the Oceania and Regent brands ever since their new presidents (Frank A. Del Rio and Andrea DeMarco, respectively) took over at the start of 2023. Oceania Cruises currently has six ships with 5,240 total berths and is due to add Vista in a month, with sister Allura to follow in 2025. Regent, which fields five ships with 3,390 berths, is to add Seven Seas Grandeur later this year.
Over five years before taking the NCL presidency, Sommer held various senior roles including president, international, responsible for the sales, marketing, public relations, business development and all office operations outside the US for NCL, Oceania and Regent. Before that, he was EVP international business development and EVP and chief integration officer. Earlier, from 2000-2001, he had a stint as VP revenue management and relationship marketing.
Before his latest stretch with NCL, Sommer was with Prestige Cruise Holdings, prior to its acquisition by NCL, in positions including chief marketing officer, SVP finance and chief information officer and SVP accounting/chief accounting officer and controller.
An earlier role included VP of IT for Viking River Cruises. Sommer also owned Luxury Cruise Center for eight years. He began his cruise career at Renaissance, from 1992 to 2000, ultimately as VP revenue management and direct marketing.
Sommer, introducing Norwegian Prima, was on the cover of Seatrade Cruise Review's September 2022 issue. He was profiled in the magazine's September 2016 issue, a story available for download here.
Since October 2021, Herrera has served as chief consumer sales and marketing officer for NCL. Previously he was SVP finance and strategy for NCL and led corporate development for NCLH, after an earlier stint as president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China in Shanghai.
Before joining NCLH full-time in 2015, he served as senior advisor to PCH Chairman/CEO Del Rio beginning in 2012.
Herrera's background includes investment capital and advisory services, insurance, wealth management, finance and investment banking.
Other executive changes at NCL
With Herrera’s appointment, Adam Malone, who currently oversees consumer and integrated marketing, will become chief marketing officer, and 15-year NCL veteran Michael Tomoleoni, who currently manages the consumer sales division, will now serve as chief consumer sales officer.
Jason Krimmel will take the newly created role of chief international sales and marketing officer, working closely with Herrera to expand the brand’s international footprint.
Frank Del Rio transition bonus and consulting fee
Del Rio will become a senior advisor to the board from July 1 through 2025. He will be entitled to a $9m cash incentive bonus for achieving a successful transition of responsibilities to Sommer and the company’s achievement of targeted adjusted EBITDA performance levels through June 30.
He also is entitled to a $2m consulting fee in 2023, and a $4m consulting fee in 2024 and 2025. He will be subject to restrictions on competition through at least June 2024 and any time he is acting as the company's consultant.
Led NCLH since 2015
The dynamic Del Rio has led NCLH since January 2015, most recently guiding it through the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and restart. Under Del Rio, the company significantly expanded its fleet, introducing new ships and ship classes, private destination Harvest Caye in Belize and investments in Alaska and much more.
He had assumed the NCLH leadership when Kevin Sheehan exited and brought in many executives from his Prestige Cruise Holdings team. He had served as chairman and CEO of PCH, which NCL acquired for $3b, including the assumption of debt, in 2014.
Del Rio co-founded Oceania Cruises in 2002 with one ship, building up the brand with additional former R-class ships built for the defunct Renaissance Cruises, where he had also been a leader (but left before its 9/11 collapse) and ordering larger, new ships Marina and Riviera. In 2008, PCH acquired Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Sommer and Herrera salaries
In their new roles, Sommer will receive a base salary of $1.1m, while Herrera's salary will be $750,000. Sommer also is entitled to an annual bonus equal to at least 175% of his salary, to be determined by the NCLH compensation committee, which also will decide Herrera's bonus.