Black History: Special Delivery!!
Arnold Donald (1954 – ) has served as the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines since 2013. Three times per day, his high school would play a message: “Gentlemen prepare yourselves. You’re going to run the world”. Clearly, Donald is doing just that as he leads the largest leisure cruise line in the world. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, his mother was a homemaker and his father was a carpenter. His mother and father greatly valued education made sure that Donald and his siblings excelled at academic achievement. In addition to Donald and his 4 siblings, his parents were also foster parents, taking in more than 25 foster children.
Donald attended a segregated, all boys school, St. Augustine Prep in New Orleans. At 16 years old, Donald decided that he wanted to become a leader at a Fortune 50 company and began strategizing on how to do so. He graduated in 1972 and then attended Carleton College in Minnesota where he earned a bachelors degree; followed by attending Washington University in St. Louis where he earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering and then an MBA from the University of Chicago. Donald joined Monsanto, an agricultural biotechnology firm in 1980; working there for 20 years. Monsanto has been the target of many protests due to its use of genetically modified crops. He was 32 when he joined Monsanto; accomplishing the goal he had set at age 16.
In 2000 he and several investors purchased the Equal (sugar substitute) division from Monsanto and launched their own company, Merisant. Donald served as CEO of Merisant until retiring at age 51. In 2013, he was called out of retirement to lead Carnival Cruise Lines as CEO. Carnival is the largest leisure cruise line in the world with over 100 cruise ships. At the time of Donald’s arrival, the company was in turmoil. Donald is responsible for orchestrating Carnival’s amazing turnaround increasing customer satisfaction and profits during his tenure. Donald attributes his success at Carnival to the call to action he heard daily in high school, “Gentlemen prepare yourselves. You’re going to run the world”.
Donald and his wife Hazel reside in Miami, Florida. They have 3 children and five grandchildren.