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A longtime cruise ship executive slammed for her low profile during the Ruby Princess coronavirus debacle is renovating her iconic cathedral style mansion during lockdown. 

Ann Sherry, 66, has long been the face of Carnival Cruises, first as the company’s CEO, then as executive chairman, and now as an adviser to the business. 

But Ms Sherry has recently attracted the ire of 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones for her uncharacteristic low profile during the Ruby Princess fiasco – in which authorities allowed dozens of passengers infected with coronavirus to disembark in Sydney, leading to outbreaks across the country. 

Exclusive pictures showed labourers hard at work on Monday giving a facelift to ‘The Abbey’, the high-flying businesswoman’s 50-room gothic revival manor decorated with gargoyles in Sydney’s inner west. 

Face of the cruise industry: Ann Sherry, 66, has long been the face of Carnival Cruises, first as the company’s CEO, then as executive chairman, and now as an adviser to the business – but recently attracted the ire of 2GB’s Alan Jones 

Exclusive pictures showed labourers hard at work on Monday giving a facelift to ‘The Abbey’, the high-flying businesswoman’s 50-room gothic manor in Sydney’s inner west. It’s no secret extensive work is being done to the property, with 130-year-old roof materials and some decorative features being replaced, according to council documents

‘The Abbey’: Ms Sherry and her husband Michael Hogan’s 1882 home is heritage-listed and described as one of Australia’s most famous properties. It was built by the same architect behind Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral

22 people died after being infected with coronavirus on board the Ruby Princess. (Carnival says Ms Sherry has not been involved in the day-to-day management of the company for more than a year)

Council documents show the family architect was granted permission for renovations which were ‘crucial’ to conservation under heritage rules in February. 

The facelift involves replacing part of the building’s 130-year-old roof, fixing stone parapets and reinstating decorative features.

Ms Sherry and her husband Michael Hogan bought the historic property for $4.9 million in 2009 at a time of career success. 

The businesswoman is regarding as having turned around the cruise industry in Australia, successfully surpassing a goal of getting one million Australians onto a cruise ship by 2020.

Ms Sherry (with husband Michael Hogan on left, and riding a Segway on board a ship on right) quietly stepped down as Carnival Australia chair last year – but is still listed in that role on the business’s international website – and is a part-time adviser to the company

But the longtime businesswoman has copped flak for her alleged quiet over the coronavirus cruise ship saga.  

During an editorial about the Ruby Princess – and Ms Sherry’s former Rugby Australia board role – last month, Jones fumed: ‘Now with the Ruby Princess …. Ann Sherry has vanished.

‘Not a word from her! She’s renowned to be front and centre.’  

Journalist and commentator Janine Perrett tweeted that it was ‘interesting’ Ms Sherry ‘who is usually keen for media spotlight has been missing thought the Ruby Princess fiasco.’

Both broadcasters described Ms Sherry as the current executive chairman of Carnival Australia, as does Carnival Corp’s international website. 

But the company insists that is no longer the case, with a representative telling Daily Mail Australia she has been just a part time ‘adviser’ to the business for the past year.

A Carnival spokesman branded questions asking about Ms Sherry’s renovations and her response to criticisms as ‘muckracking at its worst’. 

‘Ms Sherry has had no role in day-to-day operations of the company for more than a year,’ the spokesman said.

The company declined to confirm whether Ms Sherry is still a paid employee.  

Alan Jones fumed on air last month that Ms Sherry (left and right during events on cruise ships) was ‘renowned to be front and centre’, but a Carnival spokesman said she has not been a day-to-day manager of the company for more than a year

The Carnival Corporation’s international website still lists Ann Sherry as the executive chairman but her LinkedIn profile and the company’s spokespeople say she left a year ago

Face of the cruise industry: Former Carnival Australia chair and company adviser Ann Sherry at her heritage-listed home in Sydney’s inner-west – which is undergoing renovation and repair work as she is criticised for her alleged low profile

Like a castle: Ms Sherry and her husband purchased the home in 2009 for $4.7 million. Property company Domain now estimates its value at $9 million

The home’s breathtaking view takes in the skyline of Sydney, the Anzac Bridge and the Blackwattle Bay parklands in Sydney’s inner west

The Carnival spokesman said ‘any commercial arrangement between her is a matter between her and Carnival Australia.’ 

The spokesman described Mrs Sherry as an ‘outstanding Australian who led the exponential growth of cruising in Australia and New Zealand to the point where it was contributing $5 billion to the Australian economy annually.

The historic home was constructed John Young, the same architect who designed Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral

‘Her advice is valued but having no involvement in the day to day operation of the business she could never have been reasonably expected to take a public stance on the response to coronavirus. 

‘She is also entitled to privacy in terms of her life beyond day to day involvement in cruising.’

Ms Sherry’s heritage-listed home is considered a  landmark of its own and has been described as one of Australia’s most famous properties. 

It was constructed by John Young – the builder of the city’s St Mary’s Cathedral – in 1882, and through its history has been used as a boarding house and home for an artist community. 

Ms Sherry, who started her career as a prison social worker in the United Kingdom, is the current chair of the board of Enero Group Limited, a network of modern marketing and communications firms.

The well-respected businesswoman holds a swag of directorships including non-executive roles at Sydney Airport and National Australia Bank. Her CV includes work as a senior executive at Westpac, including as CEO of its New Zealand operations.  

Ms Sherry is a member of the Order of Australia and won the Australian Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’ award in 2015. She was approached for comment.

THE HISTORY OF CARNIVAL CRUISES: FROM DIANNE BRIMBLE TO THE CORONAVIRUS 

Carnival Australia has long chartered itself through choppy waters including the controversial death of a Sydney woman to a drug overdose, historic voyages to Australia and finally, COVID-19. Here is a brief timeline:

1932: P&O Cruises’ first ship, the TSS Strathaird, makes her maiden voyage from Sydney to Norfolk Island with 1100 passengers on board 

1945-72: Over the course of this period, more than a million United Kingdom residents ‘catch their first glimpse’ of the country on board a P&O ship 

1972: Carnival Cruise Line, the company’s current namesake, is founded in the United States and swells in size of the following decades

1990s: The company takes over several of the world’s major cruise lines, including, the Holland America Line and Costa Cruises

2002: Sydney woman Dianne Brimble dies of a drug overdose on board a P&O cruise ship, sparking widespread media attention

2003: Carnival acquires P&O Cruises and the companies merge into the one business 

2007: Queen Mary 2 – a vessel owned by Carnival’s itnernational business marks its first visit Down Under as the biggest ship to ever visit Australia

Ann Sherry is appointed CEO 

2013: White Bay Cruise Terminal opens in Balmain 

March 2019: Ann Sherry steps back from executive chairman role and takes up advisory position 

Sources: Carnival Australia, LinkedIn, Carnival Corp 

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