MIAMI, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) today announced its plan to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Micky Arison will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of the company and Arnold W. Donald, a highly experienced and respected business leader who has served on the company's board for the past 12 years, will assume the CEO role effective July 3. Arison became CEO in 1979. At that time the company was privately held and operated three cruise ships under one brand, generating $44 million in revenues and carrying approximately 160,000 passengers a year. By 1987, Carnival Cruise Lines had become the world's largest cruise operator and Arison took the company public. Working in partnership with current vice chairman and COO Howard Frank, Arison led the company through an aggressive expansion that included the acquisition of several iconic cruise brands, including Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn. In 2003, a merger between Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises plc – comprised of Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK), P&O Cruises ( Australia), and German cruise brand AIDA – was completed, creating the first global cruise operator and one of the largest leisure travel companies in the world. In addition, the company undertook an ambitious schedule of new ship introductions. Under Arison's leadership, Carnival Corporation & plc has grown to more than 100 ships, carrying 10 million passengers a year and generating more than $15 billion in annual revenues. In his role as chairman, Arison will continue to provide board level oversight for the company and will remain the company's largest shareholder. Donald will lead the executive team, initially focusing on achieving the company's long-term strategic goals while working directly with the operating brand executives. Frank will continue to serve in his current role as vice chairman and COO of the company, supporting Donald in working with the corporate level executive team. The move has received unanimous approval from the company's nominating and governance committee as well as the full board of directors.