Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., has been named chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Marketing Committee effective January 1, 2009. He takes over from Dan Hanrahan, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, who provided outstanding direction for the committee and CLIA during the last 2 years.

“We are delighted that Rick Sasso, in addition to his responsibilities of running MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., has offered to take the helm of the CLIA Marketing Committee at a time when the industry needs dynamic, innovative leadership and strategic thinking,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “Marketing is going to be more important than ever in the months to come and we are extremely grateful that industry leaders such as Dan Hanrahan, whose service has been above and beyond the call of duty, and now Rick Sasso are willing to give CLIA much of their valuable time.”

Rick Sasso is one of the most popular and well-respected figures in the cruise industry for more than 36 years and involved in the travel industry for 40 years.

After holding key positions at Costa Cruises and Chandris Cruises, he was part of the senior management team that launched Celebrity Cruises in 1990. He served as president of that line from 1995 to 2001 and was instrumental in establishing it as a top premium cruise line.

Sasso was named president and chief executive officer of MSC Cruises (USA) Inc. in April 2004 and has been charged with establishing a strong position for MSC Cruises in the North American market as the line dramatically increased its fleet to make MSC Cruises the fastest growing cruise line with the youngest, most modern fleet.

In 1999, the National Association of Cruise Only Agencies (NACOA) honored Sasso as “Cruise Industry Executive of the Year” and a leading travel industry trade magazine named him its “Cruise Industry Executive of the Year.” He also served as chairman of both the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

Sasso lives in Delray Beach, Fla., with his wife of 36 years, Carmen.