Where is Ann Sherry?
She’s one of Australia’s best-connected business figures and an adept media performer, especially in times of crisis. According to the website of Carnival Australia, owner of the Ruby Princess cruise ship, she is chairman of the company. Her Twitter feed says so too.
Her last tweet was on March 8 at the Women’s T20 World Cup. That also happens to be the day the Ruby Princess departed Sydney for New Zealand, setting in train events which have led to the death of a 77-year-old woman from COVID-19 and caused a leap in the number of infections around Australia.
According to Carnival, however, Sherry is no longer chairman of the company
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“Ann is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business or in current matters that are in the media,” a Carnival spokesperson told Crikey in an email. “We obviously need to update our website.”
According to Carnival, Ann is now an adviser, having changed roles “some time ago”.
How long ago could that be? It was only in mid-February that Sherry was inducted into cruising’s Hall of Fame at the 19th Annual Cruise Industry Awards, recognising “her pivotal role in the industry’s success over more than a decade”.
At the time, Joel Katz, the managing director of industry lobby group Cruise Lines International Association, paid tribute to Sherry’s “dynamic combination of unique skills, personality and determination, combined with a far-sighted vision”.
“She also used her personal reputation as one of Australia’s most prominent business people to grow the reputation of cruising among business, government and media, working to ensure that others in the tourism industry, and policymakers, understand the economic value of cruising,” he said.
Timing is everything. Sherry’s award came with Carnival’s Diamond Princess sitting off Japan in coronavirus lockdown and with the pandemic yet to hit Australia’s shore.
Sherry joined Carnival as CEO in 2007 and walked into a full blown crisis. A coroner had recommended criminal charges be laid over the death of Brisbane woman Dianne Brimble on a Carnival-owned cruise ship.
Carnival declined to say who has taken over from Sherry, or precisely when she left the chairman’s role.
That may well leave American executive Sture Myrmell in charge. Myrmell is president of Carnival Australia, according to Carnival’s website. It goes on to say: “Sture is a member of the global leadership team at Carnival Corporation & plc and is involved in the development of strategy, policy and operational practices across the business”.