MSC Cruises’ Pierfrancesco Vago to lead cruise industry back to sea

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, has been appointed to a two-year term as Global Chairman of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

With the cruise industry at a critical point in its existence, Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, is taking over as global chairman of CLIA, the cruise industry’s global association. 

“Mr. Vago is a visionary leader within the global cruise community. We will benefit tremendously from his ideas, insights, and direction as we look to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and support the restart of the cruise industry internationally and in the United States in particular,” said CLIA president and CEO Kelly Craighead as she welcomed Mr.Vago.

Having majored in Economics at the University of Cambridge, UK, Mr Vago entered the MSC Group in 2000, piloting a joint venture between the Italian-based ferry company SNAV and the Hoverspeed Sea container Group. In 2001 he rose to the position of Line Manager for the USA, Mexico and Canada within the Group’s container shipping business, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company.

From 2003 to 2013 Mr. Vago served as CEO of MSC Cruises. During this time the first 12 purpose-built cruise ships joined the fleet and the company experienced over 800% growth.

In January 2014, Mr Vago became Chairman of CLIA Europe, the European branch of the cruise industry’s global association, a position that he held until December 2016. During this time Mr Vago led CLIA Europe to take an increasingly more central role in engaging with all the relevant European and national authorities and legislative bodies across the Continent, with a particular focus on Brussels, and in close cooperation with CLIA Global. 

He has spearheaded the launch of the company’s new fleet expansion plan, supporting the next phase of MSC Cruises’ growth. It encompasses the entry into service of 17 next-generation cruise ships between 2017 and 2027, reflecting a capital investment exceeding €13.6 billion. MSC Cruises’ passenger capacity is set to triple during this period as a result.

As Executive Chairman, Mr. Vago continues to propel MSC’s growth, cementing its position as one of the largest providers of cruise vacations in the world.

“This is a highly critical juncture for our industry globally. I am honored and grateful for the support and trust of my peers as we work to resume the business of creating unforgettable experiences for our treasured guests, as well as generating economic impact and job opportunities benefitting millions of people worldwide who are touched in so many ways by our industry,” said Mr. Vago. “With over 200 sailings that have taken place since last summer in various markets around the world, all with strict measures in place to promote public health, we have proven that a return to cruising is possible. I look forward to working with CLIA leadership and our partners in the industry to continue down this path and help secure a vibrant future for all who depend on it.”

Mr. Vago assumes the position of CLIA Global Chairman following an unprecedented year for the cruise industry and the entire travel sector. Looking ahead, CLIA and its members remain focused on continuing to advance the resumption of cruising around the world as well as building upon its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability.

Mr. Vago will be the first European to serve in the role of CLIA Global Chairman.

Also read: MSC Cruises brings ‘Best of British’ back on board

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