He succeeds Adam Goldstein, who completed his term in December.
'Mr. Vago is a visionary leader within the global cruise community. We will benefit tremendously from his ideas, insights and direction as we look to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and support the restart of the cruise industry internationally and in the United States in particular,' CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said.
Vago served as CEO of MSC Cruises from 2003 to 2013, a period of explosive growth for the privately held company based in Geneva. As executive chairman, he continues to propel MSC’s growth, cementing its position as one of the world's largest cruise operators.
Vago will be the first European to serve as CLIA's global chairman. He chaired CLIA Europe from 2014 to 2016.
'Critical juncture for the industry'
'This is a highly critical juncture for our industry globally. I am honored and grateful for the support and trust of my peers as we work to resume the business of creating unforgettable experiences for our treasured guests, as well as generating economic impact and job opportunities benefiting millions of people worldwide who are touched in so many ways by our industry,' Vago said.
'With over 200 sailings that have taken place since last summer in various markets around the world, all with strict measures in place to promote public health, we have proven that a return to cruising is possible,' he continued. 'I look forward to working with CLIA leadership and our partners in the industry to continue down this path and help secure a vibrant future for all who depend on it.'
MSC Cruises became the first major line to restart Mediterranean cruises, in August, and was the first cruise operator to mandate COVID-19 swab tests for everyone at embarkation, along with controlled shore excursions. These practices subsequently became industry standards. Vago also has advocated for the G20 countries to adopt a robust COVID testing regime and common protocols.
'I have known Pierfrancesco Vago for many years and am fortunate to consider him a friend,' Goldstein said. 'I wish him and everyone at CLIA and throughout the industry tremendous success. I truly believe that the best is yet to come for this very special industry.'