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Royal Caribbean ups dividend, names lead director

MIAMI (AP) -- Royal Caribbean Cruises On Wednesday more than doubled its dividend and made changes to the structure of its board.

The company appointed one of its independent board members as lead director and will have directors serve one-year terms starting in 2014, instead of three-year terms.

The change comes after several shareholders pushed for the company to move to shorter terms, arguing that it makes directors more accountable to stockholders and could thereby help improve the company's performance and value.

Royal Carribbean's board had urged shareholders to vote against the proposal at its last annual meeting, but they voted in favor of it. Shareholder proposals typically are not binding, but companies pay attention to them as a reflection of shareholder desires.

William Kimsey, a former CEO of accounting firm Ernst & Young Global, is the company's new lead director. He's been on Royal Caribbean's board since 2003.

The Miami company also raised its quarterly dividend to 25 cents from 12 cents.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will pay its next dividend Oct. 8 to shareholders of record on Sept. 24.