Costa Group CEO Foschi to retire in July

AP News
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 2:25 PM
Costa Group CEO Foschi to retire in July

Carnival Corp. said Monday that Pier Luigi Foschi is retiring as CEO of its Costa Group subsidiary on July 1, nearly six months after the company's Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people.

Foschi, 65, had built Costa into Europe's largest cruise line.

The cruise operator said that Foschi, 65, was scheduled to retire once he hit that age. He will stay on as chairman of the Costa Group and remain a Carnival board member.

"Pier has made it known for some time that he intended to retire once he turned 65," Carnival CEO Micky Arison said in a statement. He said the announcement was part of the company's longtime succession plan.

Michael Thamm, currently president of Germany-based Aida Cruises, will become CEO of Costa Group once Foschi retires. Aida, along with Ibero Cruises, is part of the Costa Group.

Foschi has been dealing with the fallout from the Jan. 13 capsizing of the Costa Concordia off Tuscany, in which 32 people were killed in a botched and delayed evacuation. Two bodies remain missing.

Just last week, Costa chose Pompano Beach, Florida-based Titan Salvage to remove the ship from its rocky perch off Giglio's port. The operation will begin next month and is expected to take a year.

In addition to the Concordia disaster, Foschi had to cope with a second debacle in March, when the Costa Allegra drifted for days off the coast of East Africa after it was badly damaged by a fire. Five crew members suffered smoke inhalation.

Carnival said that in his role as Costa chairman, Foschi would continue to deal with the Concordia cleanup as well as take on other projects.

Foschi joined Costa in 1997 and became chairman in 2000.

Some of Carnival's other brands include Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America.

The Miami company's stock fell 33 cents, or 1 percent, to $31.35 in afternoon trading, while broader stock markets slid. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 1.1 percent.