Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust is stepping down at the end of the year. The organization said D’Aoust is moving on “to focus on family priorities.”

D’Aoust will remain in her current CEO role until a successor is identified, CLIA said, as well as oversee the transition to new leadership. CLIA said it has retained the services of executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to lead the search for a new president and CEO, and that its Global Executive Committee is developing a transition plan.

“CLIA has been fortunate to have Cindy at the helm for the last two years but we respect her decision to focus on her family and wish her all the best,” said Arnold Donald, global chair, CLIA and president and CEO, Carnival Corporation, in a written statement.

D’Aoust first joined CLIA in 2014 in an executive vice president role. In August 2015, she became acting CEO of the organization after then-CEO Tom Ostebo stepped down. In March 2016, she was appointed the organization’s permanent president and CEO.

During her time as CEO D’Aoust was named one of our Most Innovative People in Cruise Travel for her focus on partnerships with the travel trade, including the formation of an alliance with the Professional Travel Agents of North America (PTANA) in 2017, as well as a partnership with Meeting Professionals International to deliver CLIA’s new Meetings & Events at Sea Certificate Program. She also oversaw the introduction of new benefits to CLIA’s Membership Program, and expanded research efforts on behalf of travel agents in association with J.D. Power.

Most recently D’Aoust emphasized the cruise industry’s commitment to sustainability, which she highlighted at her most recent keynote address at this year’s Seatrade Cruise Global. She also put the spotlight on cruise travel’s strong growth over the past several years.

Prior to working with CLIA, D’Aoust served as chief operating officer at Meeting Professionals International and in other senior roles with Maxvantage and Maritz Travel.

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