Arnold Donald, a 64-year old African-American businessman, is the CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s current largest and most popular cruise company. For the past 5 years, he has been running the $48 billion company after rescuing it from major financial problems. A dynamic leader, he has also led the company through many record-breaking milestones.
In 2013, Carnival Corporation was in a bad place: one of their ships capsized off in Italy, killing 32 people and another ship suffered a power outage which affected its sanitation and left 4,200 passengers with raw sewage. The U.S. economy was booming then but Carnival’s profits were stagnant due to the unfortunate events.
Though Donald had been a member of the Carnival Corp. board of directors for 13 years, he was semi-retired at the time and he hadn’t even run a cruise line before. But he accepted the challenge of being Carnival’s president and CEO. Since then, the company has seen major developments.
For two consecutive years since he took over, the company boasted of its highest profits in its 45-year history. It has nearly doubled its stock price from $34.85 to $66.91 and its market cap from $27 billion in 2013 to $48 billion in 2018.
As a child, he was extremely poor he was barely able to use a fork to eat. As an African-American who grew up in the civil rights time, he also experienced discrimination. But he was determined to succeed and nothing had ever stopped him.
“If you prepare and [have] no excuses, you can pretty much do whatever you want,” he said in an interview with CNBC.
Moreover, Carnival Corporation under Donald’s helm made history in Cuba by “opening Cuba for the U.S. cruise industry and positively impacting the broader international travel policies.” He is also doing business with China to further expand market opportunities globally.
He believes one of his secrets to success is listening. “If you learn to listen, the world will reveal itself to you,” Donald told Forbes.
He added, “If you listen to your customers—in our case, our guests—they will tell you how to exceed their expectations. If we listen to our employees whose job it is to deliver in those areas, they will tell you how to deliver what the guest is asking for in a way that’s sustainable for the corporation and gives you the return you’re looking for.”
Watch his interview below on CNBC: