Both are currently chief sales and marketing officers for their respective brands and have extensive experience at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
Effective Jan. 1, Del Rio succeeds Howard Sherman, and DeMarco takes over from Jason Montague. Sherman and Montague will become special advisors for NCLH.
The changes came amid heavy layoffs at NCLH but have been planned for some time.
Immediate priorities/key team members
Del Rio told Seatrade Cruise News his priority is to ‘continue delivering the best in class vacation experience and being the best possible partners to our travel advisor community and to continue growing the best team in the industry, shipboard and shoreside.’
Among his key Oceania team members are Nikki Upshaw, SVP sales; Nathan Hickman, VP trade engagement & guest experience; and Tim Rubacky, head of public relations, along with an operations team shared with Regent.
NCLH’s Robin Lindsay, EVP vessel operations, supports all three brands, including hotel operations, marine, technical, newbuild and other areas. Franco Semeraro is SVP hotel operations for Oceania and Regent, and has brand-dedicated teams under him.
For her part, DeMarco is focused on the ‘highly anticipated delivery of Seven Seas Grandeur and continuing to support and invest in our valued travel partners’ to ensure an unrivaled booking experience.
Her key team members include Shawn Tubman, SVP sales, and Wes D’Silva, SVP revenue management, along with the shared operations people.
Del Rio’s boyhood dream
Del Rio said he’d dreamed of becoming a cruise line president since childhood.
‘Growing up in Miami, the cruise capital of the world, and with my father, the industry was always of great interest,’ he said. He was a member of Oceania Cruises’ founding team in 2003, ‘an awesome opportunity,’ as he called it.
‘A little boy has dreams and aspirations. It was always in the back of my head that [becoming president] might be a possibility.’
Regent’s first woman president
As for DeMarco, also a South Florida native, after taking a shipboard vacation years ago she ‘fell in love with cruising and wanted to spread the word.’ A self-described ‘numbers’ person, she directed her finance education to the industry.
‘I’m extremely, extremely honored to lead Regent, especially as its first woman president,’ DeMarco said. Having heard from women crew members how female leaders inspire them, she’s excited to serve as a role model.
‘Our entire management team and board of directors are confident that Andrea and Frank are the right executives to succeed as presidents,’ said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, NCLH. He added they have proven their ‘leadership acumen, strategic mindsets and ability to deliver top-notch results.’
The promotions result from what NCLH Chairman Russell Galbut said was a ‘robust succession planning process.’ He called Del Rio and DeMarco ‘talented and dynamic leaders who will bring unique, fresh and diverse perspectives in their new roles while also ensuring brand continuity with their significant company and cruise industry experience.’
According to a filing, each will receive a base salary of $500,000.
Frank Del Rio Jr.
Del Rio, 44, has served as chief sales and marketing officer at Oceania Cruises since March, continuing his 14-year company tenure. In 2003, his first job with the brand his father founded was director of destination services.
He rose to VP destination services and product development, and when Prestige Cruises International was formed, putting Oceania and Regent under one umbrella, he moved up to SVP port and destination services for the two brands. After Prestige became a part of NCLH, he was SVP destination services and onboard revenue, through April 2017.
From 2018 until March 2022, Del Rio worked as an entrepreneur in private equity, finance and tech, involved in areas including AI, telecommunications and 5G network solutions, medical and real estate development, and for two years he served as CEO of Divinus Life, a provider of skin and wellness products.
Del Rio holds degrees in finance and economics from the University of Florida.
DeMarco, 44, became chief sales and marketing officer at Regent in September 2021. Before that, she was SVP investor relations, corporate communications and ESG at NCLH, which she joined in 2012 as director of investor relations, before moving up through jobs of increasing responsibiilty.
DeMarco represented the company to Wall Street and was part of the management team that helped take NCLH public in 2013 then through numerous secondary equity offerings, the acquisition of Prestige Cruises and multiple capital raises amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before NCLH, DeMarco managed North American charter sales at Celebrity Cruises and worked in corporate financial and revenue management at Royal Caribbean Group.
She has an MBA in finance from Florida International University and finance degree from Florida State University.
Thanks to Howard Sherman and Jason Montague
‘We are grateful to Jason and Howard for their significant contributions to our company’s success and their tremendous achievements at Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises,’ Del Rio Sr. said.
Sherman has served as Oceania president and CEO since January, leading the resumption of cruises and overseeing preparations for the introduction of the line’s first newbuild in nearly a decade, Vista, set to debut in 2023. Previously he was EVP onboard revenue and destination services at NCLH, overseeing departments including air/sea, casino operations, commercial development, government relations, itinerary planning and land-based constructon projects.
Before NCLH acquired Prestige, Sherman held various roles at Prestige from 2003 to 2014 and was one of Oceania Cruises’ founding team members.
Montague has been president and CEO of Regent for six years and before that, was president and COO of Oceania and Regent. This came after his work at NCLH to integrate Prestige following its acquisition. He had served as CFO at Prestige before that. Montague was VP/treasurer at Oceania from 2004 to 2008.
As advisors, Sherman and Montague will receive annual base salaries of $500,00 in 2023 and 2024, a previously awarded cash retention bonus and equity award in 2023. They’re also entitled to any annual bonus paid for 2022, and they’ll continue to receive executive office cruise privileges.