NACC Achievement Award to Arne Wilhelmsen
Arne Wilhelmsen to Receive the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce Achievement Award
The Board of Directors of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has selected world-renowned cruise industry leader Arne Wilhelmsen to receive its distinguished Achievement Award for 2009, an Award presented to individuals whose outstanding personal accomplishments exemplify the spirit of commitment, perseverance and endeavor that sustains the strong relations between Norway and the U.S. In nominating Mr. Wilhelmsen, the Selection Committee cites the extraordinary accomplishments of this remarkable Norwegian.
Legendary value creation
Arne Wilhelmsen, a Harvard graduate, joined the family business Awilco – later named Anders Wilhelmsen & Co AS — in 1954, taking responsibility for chartering and financing at a time when the company’s fleet consisted of two tankers with a newbuilding added a year later. Under Arne Wilhelmsen’s leadership the company grew, initially as a shipping enterprise, but successively diversified into other lines of business such as real estate development, commercial fishing, offshore oil services, information technology and the cruise industry. In recent years Arne Wilhelmsen has retired from active involvement in AWILHELMSEN and chairs the board of the holding company AWILHELMSEN AS.
AWILHELMSEN is today a major investment company in Norway with holdings in real estate development, hotels, shopping centers, retail distribution, financial investments, shipping and cruise vacations.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Arne Wilhelmsen’s most significant accomplishment was the development of RCCL from its foundation in 1969. AWILHELMSEN is still an influential owner. Today RCCL is one of the largest companies in the global vacation travel market. From one passenger vessel in l970, the company, as of December 31, 2008, has 38 ships with a selection of worldwide itineraries that call on approximately 425 destinations. The company owns five cruise brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises, and CDF Croisières de France. In addition, the company has a 50% investment in a joint venture with TUI AG, which operates the brand TUI Cruises. It is widely considered that Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art vessels have become the prototype for virtually all cruise ships.
Arne Wilhelmsen has shown visionary leadership and great integrity. He has a keen eye for new opportunities, willing to take calculated risks into new areas of business, the main goal being to create value for shareholders, customers, employees and business associates and society at large.
A strong supporter of civic causes
Both individually and with companies within the AWILHELMSEN sphere, Arne Wilhelmsen has long been a strong supporter of civic causes, many directed at education, the environment and medicine. Arne Wilhelmsen is a commander of the Finnish Lejons Order, knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour and commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.
The Achievement Award will be presented at a gala dinner in New York Palace Hotel on November 5, 2009. The gala program committee is chaired by Bernt Reitan of Alcoa, with Lawrence Rutkowski, Kristin Holth, Per Heidenreich, Richard Fain, Blaine Collins, Cameron Beard and Tor Arneberg.