December 12, 2001
Silversea Cruises' president Bill Smith, who has worked for the small-ship luxury line since 1995, is leaving, according to a company announcement, and departing quite hastily at that. Smith will finish out the week before departing to pursue "personal interests." No replacement has been announced; it is anticipated that current Silversea CEO Peter Albert will handle presidential duties as well. Smith's departure is the latest in a series of head-honcho-style musical chairs for reasons of "personal interest" or "family time." Others include Celebrity Cruises' Rick Sasso and Crystal Cruises' Joe Watters. Longtime Renaissance chief Frank Del Rio lost a power struggle with new-to-the-company Manfred Ursprunger, Celebrity's former guest relations chief. Alas, Ursprunger experienced a similar fate when the much-troubled cruise line's financiers pulled the plug, halting all operations. American Classic Voyages' Rod McLeod suffered as well when his cruise line also fell into financial arrears. So far, the only "departed" honcho to resurface in a leadership role in the industry has been Larry Pimentel, Seabourn's former chief, who is a co-owner and the president of SeaDream Yacht Club, a new, upstart cruise line that purchased Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II from Carnival Corp. and plans to market the ships to an upscale yet casual traveler.