Roger Frizzell | Influence 100
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Roger Frizzell 

SVP CCO 
Carnival Corporation 
US

 

 

It’s been an extraordinarily rocky decade for Carnival Cruises: the Costa Concordia tragedy,  Carnival Triumph’s toilet issues, being put on probation in 2017 as part of a multimillion settlement for illegally dumping oil into the sea, among many other high-profile disasters. And now, of course, Covid-19 has threatened the future of cruise ships around the world. But Carnival is faring better than expected: the company saw a surge of new bookings in June and many customers are eager to apply cruise credits from 2020 to future trips. And how the world's largest cruise line – whose brands include Cunard, P&O and Princess – weathers the pandemic might define the industry’s future.  

For most of the past decade, it’s been Roger Frizzell at the communications helm. He joined the company as SVP of corporate communications and chief communications officer in 2013 and handles all corporate-level communications and PR activities. He has responsibility for corporation’s local, state and federal governmental relations and the Carnival Foundation, reporting to president/CEO Arnold W. Donald. 

Prior to Carnival Corporation, Frizzell was vice president of corporate communications and chief communications officer for Pacific Gas & Electric in San Francisco. During the course of his 30-year career, Frizzell served as VP of corporate communications and advertising at American Airlines for nearly a decade, and held high-level communications positions at Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies and AT&T. He also played a leading communications role in the successful effort to keep wrestling in the Olympics. 

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance
Our company was about to be the first cruise line to sail to Cuba in 40 years when we learned that the country had a longstanding regulation preventing anyone Cuban-born from entering the country by sea. We made the difficult decision to pause our plans, while working with the Government. Ultimately, Cuba made a decision to change its regulations and we were able to sail to Cuba and open a new market for the company in the Caribbean.

What are the comms industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
The cruise industry has paused its cruises around the world as a result of Covid-19. Restarting cruising again and rebuilding confidence in cruising will be a top priority, along with compliance and protecting the environment.

What have you most admired about this industry in 2020?
There is incredible talent that are providing strong counsel in their roles across the globe despite the many challenges.

What has most disappointed you about this industry in 2020?
Like many industries, we need to continue to improve on our diversity profiles, especially in senior roles.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
Working remotely has become the mode for us to operate now, leveraging new online tools to help make it work.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
It is an old movie, but Rudy is a film that inspires me that dreams can come true if you are willing to prioritize and put the work into it to achieve your goals.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Coaching wrestling and spending time with my family.

Sum up 2020 in one word.
Unprecedented.