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Top Management Shuffle at RCL

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL - Free Report) recently declared the promotion of Jason Liberty as the chief financial officer (CFO) effective immediately. Liberty will replace Brian Rice who will retire from the company in the spring of 2014.

The leaving CFO Brian Rice has served Royal Caribbean immensely for more than 20 years and played a pivotal role in improving growth, profitability and efficiency of the company. Hence, Liberty’s new role entrusts him with additional responsibility to carry on the strong momentum of the company.

However, Rice will remain with Royal Caribbean till the end of his tenure to ensure a seamless transition and supervise Royal Caribbean's finance, supply chain, strategy and information technology functions as the vice chairman. Till then, Jason Liberty will continue to report to Rice.

Liberty has been employed at Royal Caribbean for around 8 years and most recently served as Senior Vice President, Strategy and Finance, monitoring the company's Corporate and Strategic Planning, Treasury, Investor Relations and Internal Audit functions. Prior to joining Royal Caribbean, Liberty worked as a senior manager at the accounting firm KPMG.

The Miami, Fla.-based cruise operator also announced other managerial changes. It promoted Henry Pujol to the position of senior vice president and controller. He joined the company in 2004. Pujol will now report to Liberty. Pujol was also a senior manager in the audit practice of KPMG before joining Royal Caribbean.

We are positive on the aforesaid management churn. Given the promotees’ long alliance with the company, we expect their style of operation to be similar to their predecessors.

Royal Caribbean currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other players in the leisure and recreational industry, which look attractive at current levels, include Life Time Fitness Inc. (LTM - Free Report) and The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG - Free Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another company selling recreational products, Brunswick Corp. (BC - Free Report) also carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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