The cruise industry’s trade group has found its new leader: a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who has led the agency’s Alaska operations.
Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo, 55, will start his new job as president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association on July 6. He is set to retire from his current position, director of strategic management for the Coast Guard, on July 1.
“I am incredibly humbled, honored and excited to join an industry with such a rich history of success and growth,” Ostebo said in a statement released Wednesday. “This appointment is a perfect next step in my career as it allows me to leverage my experiences and passions, from leading large complex teams to advocating for marine resources.”
A CLIA spokeswoman said Ostebo was not available for interviews Wednesday. His job will be located in Washington, D.C.
Ostebo fills the void left when former CEO Christine Duffy was named president of Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line. She started that job on Feb. 1. CLIA used the firm Heidrick & Struggles to conduct a search for a new chief.
He joins CLIA after a difficult stretch for the industry that included the deadly shipwreck of the Costa Concordia in 2012 and a disabling fire aboard the Carnival Triumph in 2013.
Unlike his predecessors, who came from the travel industry, Ostebo’s background is firmly maritime.
Over the past couple of decades, Ostebo’s roles have included commanding officer for Coast Guard Alaska Command; chief of engineering and logistics; senior advisor to the commandant; and commanding officer of air stations in Cape Cod and Traverse City, Mich. He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1981 and completed Naval flight training in 1984.
“Tom brings years of outstanding maritime and strategic business leadership experience to this important position that leads the cruise industry’s global association,” said Global CLIA Chairman Adam Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are confident CLIA will thrive under his direction for years to come. More importantly, Tom’s strong communication skills and energy made him the ideal person for this role.”