Cruise industry mourns former Royal Caribbean executive Jack Williams
“Jack was a big-hearted guy who brought a smart outsider’s perspective to the cruise industry,” said Philip Levine, co-executive chairman of Four Seasons Yachts. “He was open to everyone and pushed us all to support the very worthy cause of curing cystic fibrosis.”
Ultimately Corporate President
Williams had a 23-year career with American Airlines before taking the helm of Royal Caribbean in January 1997. He was named president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises in 2001, then president of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in 2005, when the presidencies were again divided. with Adam Goldstein taking over at Royal Caribbean International and Dan Hanrahan at Celebrity.
Soon after, Williams left to devote more time to charitable causes.
Upon his departure, President and CEO Richard Fain called him an “outstanding leader and innovator” and a “tremendous force in the community.” He credited Williams with making “lasting and significant contributions” to brand marketing, on-board staff awareness, revenue management systems and safety and environmental practices, adding: “He helped put Celebrity on a world-class basis and sharpened our charitable focus with events such as Shine On.
Visionary with a strategic mind
Dietmar Wertanzl, who worked under Williams as SVP Fleet Operations and General Manager Xpeditionsconsidered him a visionary.
‘He was a strategically minded leader, always engaged and supportive of new ideas, and genuinely cared about each brand and its employees,” said Wertanzl, currently President and CEO of CMI Leisure Management. “He was also passionately involved in charitable causes, particularly the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Andre Agassi Foundation.”
Fierce competitor, great leader and friend
Williams has attracted new talent to the cruise industry, including Celebrity’s Dondra Ritzenthaler, SVP business and commercial assistance and serviceswhich came from American Airlines.
For Ritzenthaler, Williams was a “fierce competitor, a great leader and a friend to many of us in the cruise and airline industry…He was my mentor and taught me to believe in myself in the easy and difficult times. He spent the last years of his life in California with his family and friends. He will be missed but never forgotten.’
Williams graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in communications and served as an associate professor for two years. He began his career with American Airlines in San Diego in 1972 as an operations officer and worked his way up through numerous positions, eventually becoming vice president and general manager of sales in 1990.
Raised millions for charity
Williams had long-term commitments to a number of charities, helping to raise millions of dollars. He served on the board of the Andre Agassi Foundation, which supported charitable causes in the Las Vegas area, and was an accomplished auctioneer at annual fundraisers, including events for cystic fibrosis, Komen Foundation and the Michael Bolton Foundation for Women and Children at Risk. In 1999, he was elected to the National Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Williams has also won numerous awards for his charitable work, including the “Breath of Life Award”, the highest honor given to an individual by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the “Joel McCrea Merit of Achievement Award” from the American Cinema Awards for its humanitarian work. efforts.
After leaving Royal Caribbean, Williams served as CEO of Eos, a business-class-only carrier, beginning in 2007.