After nearly 43 years in the cruise business, Maurice M. Zarmati is retiring as president and CEO of Costa Cruises North America, effective November 30, 2011. He will remain with the line as a senior consultant on Costa’s worldwide sales, marketing and passenger-traffic initiatives.
Zarmati, 65, became president and CEO of Costa Cruises North America in March 2008. He is responsible for sales, marketing, guest services, finance, human resources and revenue management for the North American sales and marketing headquarters of Europe’s leading cruise company, Costa Crociere S.p.A., based in Genoa, Italy. He reports directly to Costa’s home office.
“It has been a pleasure to share the last few years with Maurice Zarmati at Costa Cruises taking advantage of his tremendous experience,” commented Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere S.p.A. “In these challenging times we are excited to have him in his new role, sharing and extending his valuable expertise in our worldwide sales and marketing initiatives.”
“Maurice was there at the beginning of Carnival Cruise Lines and was one of a trusted core group of individuals who built that brand into the largest, most popular cruise line in the world,” said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. “In a career spanning more than four decades, Maurice was known for his exemplary performance, loyalty, leadership and sense of humor. We appreciate his many contributions at both Carnival and Costa Cruises, and wish him well in his new global role at Costa Crociere.”
Ruben Perez has been appointed General Manager Costa N.A to oversee day-to-day operations at the company’s Hollywood, Fla., office and will report directly to Costa headquarters in Genoa.
In 2008 when Zarmati became president and CEO of Costa Cruises North America, it seemed he was fulfilling a lifelong destiny. With his Italian heritage, fluency in five languages and his experience and contacts in the cruise industry, Zarmati was the perfect man for the job.
Born in Egypt to an Italian father and French mother, Zarmati and his family emigrated to Genoa, Italy, in 1956. Upon arrival at the Port of Genoa, the first image he saw was a prominently displayed Costa Crociere logo. After living in Genoa for nearly three years, in 1959 the Zarmatis moved to the U.S. and settled in Miami. Already fluent in Italian, French and Arabic, Zarmati became proficient in English and Spanish as well. He graduated from University of Miami in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in comparative linguistics.
The day he graduated college Zarmati joined Arison Shipping, the general managing agent for a Miami-based cruise line. Two years later, he worked with company founder Ted Arison as a member of the original team that created Carnival Cruise Lines. Zarmati served as southeast regional sales manager from 1973 until his promotion to director of sales in 1979. He was named vice president of sales in 1987 and was responsible for the cruise industry’s largest field sales force at the time.
Active in national travel industry associations, Zarmati also has held positions on the boards of national charities and South Florida community organizations. Currently, he chairs the Gala Committee for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. He resides on Miami Beach.