P&O Princess Cruises International CEO Peter Ratcliffe is to retire on his 60th birthday on March 6, 2008.

Ratcliffe will be replaced by Alan Buckelew who has been promoted to president and CEO of Princess Cruises, effective immediately, with Ratcliffe staying on in advisory capacity until he steps down.  

Parent company Carnival Corporation has also promoted David Dingle from UK managing director to CEO of Carnival UK with responsibility for P&O Cruises, Ocean Village and Cunard Line.

Dingle has also been appointed chairman of Carnival’s management committee with responsibility for P&O Cruises Australia.

Ratcliffe explained it had always been his intention to retire when he reached 60.

“I’ve had a tremendously rewarding career in this industry and know that I leave the future of my cherished brands in the most capable hands of David and Alan,” he said.

Ratcliffe joined P&O in 1973, rising to president of Princess Cruises in 1993 and head of P&O’s cruise division in 2000, later that year leading the de-merger from P&O to create P&O Princess Cruises plc.

Having been appointed CEO of the new company he took up his present position in 2003, following the merger with Carnival Corporation, and was given a place on the Carnival board.