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Lars Ljoen to succeed Bill Burke as Carnival Corp.'s chief maritime officer

Lars Ljoen, left, currently chief operations officer at Carnival Cruise Line, is promoted to succeed Adm. Bill Burke as chief maritime officer at Carnival Corp. & plc in February. Burke will transtion to external affairs advisor
Adm. Bill Burke, who's served as chief maritime officer at Carnival Corp. & plc since 2013, will be moving to an advisor role in February, with Lars Ljoen succeeding him.

Burke will transition to external affairs advisor.

Ljoen, who's currently chief operations officer at Carnival Cruise Line, will assume the corporate chief maritime officer role Feb. 1.

Adds destination development oversight

Ljoen will oversee all aspects of maritime operations, reporting to Carnival Corp. & CEO Josh Weinstein. He also will be responsible for strategic destination development and will oversee management of the company's owned and operated ports.

(EVP Strategic Operations Jan Swartz currently oversees destination development; as Ljoen takes that on, Swartz will be picking up global sustainabiilty programs.) 

A 25-year cruise industry veteran, Ljoen has held a number of senior-level sea command and shore management roles. As chief operations officer for the Carnival brand, he oversees marine operations, including nautical and technical operations, environmental compliance, and safety protocols. He also leads port operations, guest operations, food and beverage services, on-board revenue, entertainment, and crew and travel operations.

'The obvious choice'

'Lars is the obvious choice for this vital role, given his deep knowledge of our industry, his pedigree of success in key senior-level positions in the company, and his ability to consistently deliver operational excellence and business results for our largest global cruise line,' Weinstein said. 'Notably, his leadership during one of the most challenging times in our industry helped Carnival Cruise Line successfully navigate the operational pause and quickly reclaim its title as the world's largest and most popular cruise line, an important driver of our company comeback.

'As we remain laser-focused on achieving our carbon and emissions reductions goals and maintaining our leadership in safety and environmental best practices, Lars will bring his tremendous knowledge to build upon the legacy that Bill has established during his tenure,' Weinstein continued.

Ljoen's background

Before Carnival Cruise Line, Ljoen served with Costa Group since 2015, initially as SVP and then promoted to EVP and managing director in 2016. At Costa Group, which at the time included Costa Cruises and AIDA, Ljoen was responsible for Carnival Maritime, the marine service unit, as well as fleet governance, marine projects and continuous improvement.

Earlier he headed business strategy development for Ceres Marine Terminals (NYK Ports) and was director of marine operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. He began his career on supply vessels and shuttle tankers in the North Sea offshore industry.

Ljoen said he's 'eager to build on Bill's remarkable foundation of operational excellence and write the next important chapter.'

Burke's new advisory role

In his new role as external affairs advisor, Burke will leverage his extensive expertise for key legislative, regulatory and policy matters at the global and federal levels.

Burke joined Carnival Corp. in 2013 in the newly created chier maritime officer job, following a distinguished career with the US Navy, as Arnold Donald became the company's new CEO.

Burke has drawn on his extensive background and record in safety, engineering, strategic planning and operational readiness to lead health, environmental compliance, safety, security and sustainability. Overseeing the company's maritime operations around the world, Burke has reshaped the company's maritime policy, maritime standards, shipbuilding, training including CSMART, medical, maritime asset strategy and technical research and development.

'No one I admire more'

'I have worked alongside Bill for over a decade, and there is no one I admire more,' Weinstein said. 'A lifelong champion of progress, Bill has been at the forefront of revolutionizing cruise operations and our company's revitalized commitment to compliance, excellence in protecting the health, safety and security of our team members and guests, and safeguarding the environment.

'His leadership in safety, innovation, and sustainability has been instrumental in elevating both our company and the industry as a whole. While Bill will wrap up his formal involvement in our daily operations, we're thrilled he has agreed to stay with the company as external affairs advisor, where his advocacy, knowledge, relationships and leadership will continue to have a global impact.'

Sustainability focus at Seatrade Cruise Global

Burke was a significant presence at Seatrade Cruise Global, where he spoke on a sustainability panel and updated media on Carnival Corp.'s 2023 sustainability achievements across a range of areas. 

ANNE KALOSHCRUISE_Bill_Burke_hat.jpg

Adm. Bill Burke delivered a briefing on Carnival Corp.'s 2023 sustainability achievements to media at Seatrade Cruise Global

These spanned from tracking toward the company's 2030 goal of reducing greenhouse gas intensity by at least 20% by 2026 (versus 2019) at least four years ahead of schedule to surpassing its 2030 shore power goal seven years early and coming within 2 points ot reaching its 2025 goal to reduce food waste by 40% (from 2019), and more. 

A summary of the 2023 report is here