Carnival Corp. Names Navy Vice Admiral to New Chief Maritime Officer Position

Mike Schuler

December 5, 2013

Carnival Triumph seen adrift in the Gulf of Mexico in February 2013. The incident was just one of a series of mishaps that has led the public to question the safety of the company’s ships and the cruise industry at large. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

Carnival Corporation (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest cruise company which has been struggling recently to overcome a long list of blemishes to its safety record, has been appointed a former U.S. Navy vice admiral to the newly created position of Chief Maritime Officer.

Vice Admiral (ret) William R. Burke
Vice Admiral (ret) William R. Burke

Carnival made the announcement Thursday that it has appointed Vice Admiral William Burke to the new position effective December 9, 2013. Burke will report directly to Chief Operations Officer, Alan Buckelew, and will have oversight of the company’s global maritime operations, including maritime quality assurance and policy, shipbuilding, ship refits, and research and development.

“Bill had a distinguished career with the U.S. Navy, and we are excited about him joining our leadership team, especially in a key position new to Carnival,” said Buckelew. “In addition, Bill has deep experience in overseeing large maritime operations, both at sea and in shipyards, and his knowledge and expertise will be a major asset. But just as importantly, he is highly respected as a dynamic leader with a strong record of building high-performing teams.”

Prior to this new position, Burke spent 35 years in the U.S. Navy with experience in safety, engineering, strategic planning and operational readiness. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 with a degree in systems engineering, Burke served various active duty positions around the world for the Navy.

In recent positions, Burke served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems directing the team that planned, programmed, budgeted and executed a large annual budget for Navy personnel, training, readiness, maintenance, platforms, and ordinance for all ships, submarines, aircraft and aircraft carriers, and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics for Navy readiness and maintenance of all ships, submarines, aircraft and aircraft carriers, along with shore readiness and maintenance, logistics, and environmental and energy programs.

Carnival Corporation & plc CEO Arnold Donald added, “We are excited that Vice Admiral Burke is joining the Carnival family. His leadership and deep experience will serve us well in managing our fleet of over 100 ships carrying more than 10 million guests a year.”

Carnival Corporation’s portfolio consists of 101 total ships across 10 different cruise brands that include Carnival, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Seabourn and Costa, to name a few. An additional eight new ships are scheduled to be delivered between spring 2014 and fall 2016.

In March, the company announced the launch of a comprehensive safety review across its entire fleet following a series of high-profile mishaps, culminating with the Carnival Triumph incident in the Gulf of Mexico in February, which left over 4,000 passengers adrift at sea for days with out power.