Head of sales becomes third Celebrity Cruises chief to stand down

Sales chief Dondra Ritzenthaler has become the third senior executive to announce their departure from Celebrity Cruises since December.

The senior vice president of sales confirmed in a letter to trade partners that she is to retire next month after 20 years with the line.

Her exit comes as brand president and chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo prepares to step down. Lutoff-Perlo will move to a role at the line’s parent company Royal Caribbean Group as vice chair of external affairs.

Laura Hodges Bethge takes over as president of Celebrity Cruises on May 1 from her role as shared services operations executive vice president.

The line’s EMEA vice president and managing director Jo Rzymowska announced her decision to step down in December.

Ritzenthaler, who joined Celebrity Cruises from American Airlines in 2003, said the sales and services team would report to Hodges Bethge for an interim period as she assumes the helm of the company next week.

“The time is simply right for me to start the next phase of my life and recharge my batteries,” she said.

“While I will miss the opportunity to work with Laura, I know the future of the Celebrity brand is so very bright and that it will continue to reach exciting new heights under her leadership.”

Asked why she was stepping down before the delivery of the fourth and fifth Edge-class ships, Lutoff-Perlo told Travel Weekly: “[The ships] are all in the pipeline and they’re all ready to go. They’re beautifully designed and that’s not going to stop whether I’m at the helm or not.

“I’m at a certain point in time where I feel like I don’t need to stay until all five of them come out because they are well underway.”

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