OUT GO: Giles Hawke, Cunard’s Shanks and P&O’s Marlow
When you board a cruise ship for your best holiday of the year, you will get to know your cabin attendant and your waiters at the dinner table. You may find a favourite barman who makes a cocktail exactly the way you like them, or who knows that look on your face means it’s just the time for a G&T or a glass of lager.
You may get acquainted with a few of the entertainment staff, especially if there’s a run-in over the correct answer to that awkward question in the quiz, and you may find a spa therapist with the right touch to ease that nagging ache between your shoulder blades.
If you’re very lucky, you might even get to shake hands – or rub elbows – with the Captain at his gala welcome reception. But that’s about as high as you’re likely to get up the chain of command. It’s most unlikely you’ll ever give a thought to the suits back at head office, the people in charge of the cruise line.
Which is why they hardly ever get a mention in this column, apart from when they come up with a catchy quote to go with the latest brochure launch, or a soothing word of comfort as they pour oil on troubled water in the event of an emergency.
This week, however, the managing director of P&O Cruises and the president of Cunard Line both find themselves heading for the door marked “EXIT.”
Carol Marlow is leaving behind the plans she has put in place for the as-yet-unnamed ship whose keel she laid a couple of weeks ago and which will join the P&O fleet in 2015; Peter Shanks will no longer be stewarding Cunard’s three Queens and their decades of history. Both will be gone by the end of September.
Marlow has been with Carnival UK for 16 years, during which she led Swan Hellenic, Princess Cruises UK and Cunard before taking the helm at P&O. Shanks joined the company in 2002 and took charge of Cunard when Marlow moved on in 2009.
The announcement of their departures follows fast on the news that Carnival UK sales and marketing director Giles Hawke will be leaving in November to join another cruise line, whose identity has not yet been revealed.
Under the terms of his contract he will be spending the summer on “gardening leave” – a euphemism for not being allowed into his office while serving out his notice period. On Friday he Tweeted to his followers: “Actually been gardening today.”
Pivotal to all three moves seems to be the appointment six months ago of Gerard Tempest. He joined Carnival UK as chief commercial officer from Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants division, where he had been in charge of the Premier Inn budget hotel chain.
Instead of reporting direct to David Dingle, Carnival UK’s managing director and CEO, Marlow and Shanks found themselves dealing with Tempest.
When they leave the company, Cunard and P&O will each get a new marketing director and someone with the title of insight director who will cover both brands. All will report to Tempest, as will the existing international development director, sales and customer services director and commercial director, who also serve both brands.
David Dingle will formally assume the titles of chief executive of P&O Cruises and of Cunard Line.
TWO AT THE TOP: Carnival UK’s Gerard Tempest and David Dingle
Tempest said yesterday: “This is an exciting time for our brands and this new structure has been designed to deliver the many opportunities ahead of us. As a consequence, and after very careful consideration, the roles of P&O Cruises managing director and Cunard president and managing director will cease to exist and as a result Carol Marlow and Peter Shanks will both be leaving the business.
“I would like to thank them both for their very significant contributions to the success of the business over many years and wish them every success in their future endeavours.”
Until now, Tempest has disclosed little of his plans for Carnival UK. In an interview with TTG’s Sophie Griffiths in April he said he had never considered a cruise as a holiday option before taking up his new role.
He disclosed that he would be carrying out a series of in-depth studies into customer behavior and conducting his own research by going on board the ships and finding out for himself what his guests want.
I can’t imagine any of them said: “What you need to do is get rid of the managing director.” And we’ll probably have to wait to see what else is in store for two of the top names in British cruising.
Have YOU met Gerard Tempest on a P&O or Cunard cruise? What did he ask, and what did you tell him? I’d love to hear from you.
OUT GO: Giles Hawke, Cunard’s Shanks and P&O’s Marlow
Typical Laissez-faire American-style capitalism. Use them and then lose them.
All cruise lines discriminate against solo travelers. Norwegian claims that they have single cabins but they are 100 square feet and inside cabins. I guess they figure singles don’t enjoy an ocean view or a balcony. Why should singles have to pay double occupancy price for traveling alone? Singles don’t eat twice the food or enjoy twice the entertainment. The cruise lines are losing a major demographic by continuing to discriminate against singles. They need to wise up.
So Gerard Tempest comes to Carnival from Premier Inns, a budget hotel chain – how fitting he is in charge of P&O and Cunard, 2 lines intent on trashing their own brand with cheap prices and heavy discounts. Will the livery on the new P&O ship be purple?
Carnival couldn’t have picked two more facially different people in Tempest and Dingle (see picture in article).
On the ‘face’ of it I’d rather run into Tempest as he looks a bit like an Entertainment Director!
Hi Rich: Yes, Mr Tempest looks like he should be wearing a redcoat and cracking unfunny jokes. He probably does in his spare time. Not sure what to make of Dingle. He looks like a cross between Kenneth Williams and Crush, the turtle from Disney’s Finding Nemo
Nothing wrong with a Premier Inn if you want a basic, bargain-price hotel room. Not sure whether it’s the business model that a luxury cruise line like Cunard would want to be associated with though and probably not P&O either. On a cruise ship every meal is included in the fare, in a Premier Inn everything costs extra. Don’t tell me that’s the way cruises are going
Look on the bright side…. Lenny Henry would be funnier than P&Os usual line up of aging comedians!
we saved and had what should have been holiday of lifetime was awful and couldnt fine anyone to contact except david dingle and his email address is non existant
Carol Marlow and Peter Shanks are the fall guys, and who for, you guessed it Mr Dingle. The next mess up Mr Dingle, there will be no one else to take the blame game, but you!
We have just completed the first sector of the Auroras world cruise during which the announcement about the new P&O livery was made the announcement was a joke and the way it was presented we all thought that they were going to say that either the Queen or Prince Philip had passed away.The announcement was made globally by all P&O captains simultaneously which was about all P&O ships being painted with a rendition of the Union Jack on their hulls our captain was an Italian who was obviously embarrass especially when his flag is a tricolour. Are P&O hoping that this will attract a younger clientele they should remember that it’s the retired people who have the disposable income to keep on cruising Mr David Dingle & Mr Tempest should take note of this before we retired people vote with our feet.
I wrote to Peter Shanks regarding bus transport to Southampton were travelers get picked in some obscure places eg out of town service stations on the motorways etc not very safe I think the reply from Peter Shanks I will look into it he is still looking passengers are still being picked up on service stations in some of the foulest weather conditions you pay your fare and get treated like this,
Peter Shanks left Cunard in 2013