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Top Management Profiles

Pierfrancesco Vago – Executive Chairman

As Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago leads MSC Cruises’ strategy and long-term vision, focusing on the Company’s sustained growth and the development of its fleet and terminal portfolio. In this role, which he assumed in 2013, he has spearheaded the launch of MSC Cruises’ second fleet expansion plan. It will see up to six ship classes join the Company’s fleet in ten years.

Mr. Vago also oversees the MSC Group’s subsidiaries with strategic relevance to the tourism sector, including ferry operator GNV and MSC’s future luxury cruise brand that is set to start operating in 2023.

As Chair of the MSC Foundation’s Executive Committee, he oversees the MSC Group’s philanthropic efforts, focusing on conservation, humanitarian and cultural projects.

In January 2021, Mr. Vago was appointed CLIA Global Chairman. In this position, he is leading the cruise industry’s efforts to resume service following the global halt of cruise operations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Vago has been closely involved in the cruise industry’s global association for many years and from 2014 to 2016 he held the Chairmanship of CLIA Europe.

From 2003 to 2013, Mr. Vago was MSC Cruises’ CEO. In this position, he oversaw MSC Cruises’ first phase of expansion, which saw the first 12 purpose-built cruise ships join the Company’s fleet in just ten years.

Mr. Vago began his career in the family business, Franco Vago SpA, one of Italy’s leading transport companies. He joined MSC Group’s cargo business Mediterranean Shipping Company in 2000, becoming Line Manager for the USA, Mexico, and Canada in 2001.

Mr. Vago studied Economics in the UK, at St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge.

Gianni Onorato – Chief executive Officer

As Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato oversees the Company’s growth from its Geneva-based headquarters and reports to the Board of Directors and to its Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago.

With over 30 years’ experience in the cruise industry, Mr. Onorato has a finely developed understanding of the cruise business and extensive knowledge in senior executive leadership, having served as President of Costa Cruises from 2004 to 2013.

Born in Italy, Mr. Onorato graduated from Naples’ Istituto Orientale with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature in 1983 and then specialized at SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan and INSEAD in Fontainebleau.

He began his cruise industry career in 1986 at Costa Cruises as Food and Beverage Manager before becoming Cruise Product Director. From 1997 he served as Vice President & Cruise Operations Director and was responsible for logistics and provisioning, as well as all activities relating to calls, excursions, and hotel operations.

Emilio La Scala – President – Cruise Management UK

“Sail before the wind” are the words that  best express the spirit of Emilio La Scala, President , Cruise Management UK. Passionate about ships from a young age, La Scala studied at the famous Nautical Institute in his native city of Naples, graduating in 1978. He then embarked with MSC Cargo vessels as a deck officer, obtaining all the necessary certifications needed to meet the requirements of a maritime career. Seagoing changed to a shore-based  profession in 1984 when he started as the assistant to the MSC Technical Director, taking part in several major projects involving the renovation and repurposing of traditional cargo ships to container ships.

In 1990, MSC entered the cruise industry with its acquisition of the SS Monterey –  setting a new course in the career of La Scala. As General Manager, he heads a team of more than 100 personnel who comprise the dynamic MSC Cruise technical department. Based in the heart of Piano di Sorrento, the technical department operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to plan, build, manage and maintain a large and expanding fleet of cruise ships – some of which are among the largest in the world. Using professional skills and techniques acquired in various courses focused on quality, personnel management, and ship safety and security, in 2000 La Scala introduced a vital new department dedicated to new builds, where he is project manager.

This vital new direction has already resulted in the delivery of nine new vessels.

Antonio Paradiso- Managing Director UK and Ireland

Antonio Paradiso started his working life with the British Consulate in Italy. In 2008 he moved to MSC Cruises where his experience of the cruise & travel industry began. As the Commercial Manager for Germany, Switzerland and Austria he was responsible for growing the business and making MSC Cruises the major player it is in those countries today. In 2012 a new challenge took him to MSC Cruises Head office in Geneva where he became Executive Director of Asia and the emerging markets. During his career with MSC Cruises Head office in Geneva Antonio was responsible for the direction and management of over 30 countries. Early 2016 Antonio was appointed as the Managing Director for the UK & Ireland, and came to the role with a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise.

Antonio is delighted to be leading the UK & Irish business at such an exciting time and in January 2018, almost two years after taking on the challenge is proud to have achieved MSC Cruises UK & Ireland highest ever passenger numbers, almost doubling the number from 2016. Antonio is proud be leading several new initiatives in the UK and Irish markets including the MSC Magnifica project which for the first time saw MSC Cruises home port a ship from Southampton in 2018. Antonio is delighted that in March 2019 MSC Cruises will launch MSC Bellissima in Southampton, testament to the UK’s inspiring and dynamic travel industry.