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Published: 21 January 2013      

Joe Dorto announces his retirement

Joe Dorto
The President and CEO of Virginia International Terminals said his last day will be 31 March

Joe Dorto (62) says he plans to retire from VIT at the end of March. He joined VIT in 1988 after almost a decade at the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). In recent months, he has been a strong defender of VIT as the governor's office scrutinised its financial performance and private companies made offers to replace it.

"I originally planned to retire last July," said Dorto, but he was convinced to stay longer after VPA executive director Jerry Bridges left, and contract negotiations with East Coast dock workers were proving difficult.

By leaving in March, Dorto said the ports would be in a strong position, and he would see VIT through both the labour talks and the privatisation debate. The VPA Board is scheduled to vote on one of two VIT privatisation offers, from APMT Terminals and Maher Terminals, in March (but see below).

Dorto said his retirement was not prompted by the ongoing privatisation debate or a recent state report that spotlighted his and other top VIT employees' salary packages. This report was written by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission (JLARC) and it highlights the salary costs at VPA and VIT.

“Between VPA and VIT," said the JLARC, "there are nine executive level staff who were collectively paid US$2.9M in compensation in FY2012...while the top three salaries at VIT increased 18% since FY2009...[Dorto's] compensation is substantially higher than for comparable public sector positions...[with a] base salary in 2012 that was 47% higher than the highest paid director of a public port agency in the United States based on a 2012 salary survey by the APPA.”

It ought to be pointed out that the JLARC has also called into question the putative benefits of privatising VIT and it has expressed doubts about the validity of a number of findings about VPA's and VIT's structure and performance in reports commissioned by the Commonwealth from a number of external consultants, particularly a report by Drewry Maritime Advisors.

This matter will be examined in more detail in the January 2013 edition of WorldCargo News. For now, however, it may be stated that while Commonwealth Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, who has led the charge to replace VIT, has not changed his mind and continues to push for privatisation, other politicians are now trying to slow the process down. One has introduced a Bill that would direct JLARC to undertake a comprehensive, one-year review of port operations and governance before any decision is made.

Other topical appointment news in the port and allied industries is as follows:

Raul Alfonso will join Tampa Port Authority with effect from 4 February to lead its marketing and real estate development efforts. He is currently senior director of trade development and global marketing at Jacksonville Port Authority.

Fred Stribling has joined Port Everglades as Assistant Director of Business Development. He was formerly Vice President, Marketing and Sales for South Carolina State Ports Authority.

APS Stevedoring LLC, headquartered in Long Beach (CA) has appointed Steven K Nixon as Vice President in charge of business development. He will also assist with current day-to-day operations. He was formerly with Marine Terminals Corp and Ports America in the bulk and breakbulk division, where he held various operational and managerial positions, culminating as vice president of bulk and breakbulk for the USA. APS Stevedoring has operations in Richmond (CA) and Portland (OR) and plans to expand throughout the US as opportunities arise.

Mark Reardon, formerly managing director of Gottwald international bulk centre in Oxford, England, has joined Germany-based Kranunion (Ardelt, Kocks) as Managing Director of Kranunion Ltd in the UK and as President of Kranunion, Inc in the USA. Initially in the UK he is representing only Kocks Cranes.

The Kion Group GmbH Supervisory Board has created a new Executive Board position - Chief Officer, Asia Pacific. Ching Pong Quek, CEO of Linde (China) Forklift Truck Corp Ltd since 2005 and president and CEO of KION's entire Asia business since 2008, has been appointed to the new post. In addition, the CEO of Linde Material Handling GmbH, Theodor Maurer, and the CEO of STILL GmbH, Bert-Jan Knoef, have been appointed to the KION Group Executive Board. They will continue to be in charge of their respective brand companies.

Petra Kuester has been appointed CFO of DB Schenker Ltd in the UK. She will join towards the end of January replacing Per Holst-Nielsen who has moved back to Sweden to a position within Schenker AB.

John J Boucher is the new President and Chief Executive Officer of US-based supply chain specialist ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc.

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