Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has appointed Peter Deer as its new managing director, taking over from Mike Rodwell.

Deer will start his new role on September 1 when Rodwell retires after 30 years with the business.

Deer will take overall responsibility for overseeing and managing the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ operation, which includes more than 220 staff in Ipswich and 2,000 crew members across the Fred. Olsen fleet of four ocean ships.

Deer joined Fred. Olsen in 1993 as an accountant and went on to become financial director of a Kent-based fruit shipping business in 1998. He returned to Fred. Olsen in 2004 as commercial director.

Deer said: “We have a first-class team, both ashore and afloat, dedicated to providing fabulous holidays, and I am proud to be leading the Fred. Olsen journey.

“The UK cruise market will continue to grow, as many more people try ‘taster’ cruises for the first time and realise that cruising offers a diverse range of experiences. Fred. Olsen’s friendly, more intimate ships are all about delivering memorable holidays and getting to know our customers by name.”

Fred. Olsen Junior, chairman of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We are a proud, family-run company that offers a cruise experience like no other, and I am very pleased that Peter Deer will be taking the helm from Mike Rodwell, to continue his legacy and lead our brand.

“Peter has a breadth of knowledge and expertise in the travel and cruise industries, and I look forward to working with him in his new role to take the business to the next level.”

Rodwell said: “We are delighted to confirm Peter Deer as my successor. During his long career with Fred. Olsen, Peter has been involved in most aspects of the business, and has made a significant contribution to our operation and product development, helping us to grow our fleet to our current five ships, spanning both ocean and river cruise markets.

“We are certain that Peter will do a great job as Managing Director, and we know that our industry partners will consider him a very worthy choice for this important role.”

A replacement for Fred. Olsen’s Commercial Director position is being sought.