Baruch alumnus to become CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Vincent Perretti

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. tapped Baruch College alumnus Harry Sommer to become its next president and CEO.

The cruise line company announced the news in a press release on March 20 in light of the June 30 retirement of Frank Del Rio, the company’s current CEO and president.     

“With the company solidly positioned for 2023 and beyond, I am confident now is the right time to pass the baton to Harry,” Del Rio said in a statement. “Having worked closely with Harry for decades, I know firsthand that his talent and skill are ideally suited to take this Company into the next era.” 

Sommer currently serves as the president and CEO of the company’s subsidiary, Norwegian Cruise Line.

The Baruch alumnus gained over 30 years of experience in the cruise industry. In addition to his current role at Norwegian, he held executive positions at Prestige Cruise Holdings, Renaissance Cruises and Viking River Cruises.

“When I started in this industry back in 1992, it was a very niche enterprise,” Sommer told the Baruch Alumni Magazine in 2019. “It’s now grown to become a worldwide product, with some 30 million people across the globe taking a cruise each year.” 

At 16 years old, Sommer enrolled in Baruch to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Although he is a certified public accountant, he is currently inactive. He later earned his master’s degree in corporate financial management from Pace University.

As someone who studied accounting, Sommer never expected to end up in the cruise industry, but he spoke about the versatility of the profession.

“It teaches you the fundamentals of business and prepares students to know a company from the bottom up,” he told the alumni magazine. “You could do anything once you’ve studied accounting.”

He added attending a college that hailed “all types of cultural backgrounds” was a plus to his experience, telling the magazine that “is a huge benefit for anyone who goes into business—and especially me, managing cruise lines in international markets.”

Sommer previously held numerous executive positions within Norwegian Cruise Line. He was responsible for sales, marketing, public relations, business development and office operations for markets outside of the United States and Canada, according to the company’s website

When he assumes his impending executive position, Sommer will oversee Norwegian’s fellow subsidiaries, including Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and the company’s tri-branded onboard revenue department.

In addition to being an executive at Norwegian,  he is also the co-founder of Luxury Cruise Center, a high-end travel agency that specializes in luxury cruises. 

“I am incredibly humbled to succeed Frank as this iconic Company’s next President and CEO, and I’m grateful to have the unwavering support of him and the board to lead the company as we embark on the next chapter for our storied brands,” Sommer said in a statement. “I am proud to have been a part of the company’s successes during the last 15 years, and I look forward to the bright future ahead, including the transformational growth we have in the pipeline.”

Sommers will officially take over as president and CEO on July 1.