Port of Long Beach to start sudden search for new leader
April 07, 2011 - LM Editorial
Many shipping industry insiders were caught off guard when Richard D. Steinke announced his intention to retire as executive director of the Port of Long Beach this week.
Even port staffers were surprised.
“He (Steinke) is such a young man,” said spokesman Art Wong. “And we really hoped that he would be with us for a long time. Ideally…forever.”
Wong added that a national search for a new director would begin in the coming weeks. An executive recruiting firm might be part of the plan, he said, as well as internal resources.
The outpouring of industry regret suggests that this will be a daunting proposition.
“Dick is an extremely thoughtful and knowledgeable leader,” said John McLauren, President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. “He will be
missed in many ways but, most of all, he will be missed for his strength of character.”
McLauren added that Steinke’s “even keel, common sense, personality, and management style served the port and city of Long Beach extremely well.”
Kurt Nagle, ?President & CEO ?of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), noted that Steinke is a “strong and recognized voice” for the critical role that ports play in our economy, as well as a leader in the ports’ role in environmental enhancements and sustainable port development and operations.
“He is extremely well respected by his colleagues, as evidenced by his being unanimously elected as AAPA Chairman of the Board for 2001-2002,” he said.
Sources told LM that there was also concern within the shipping community that Steinke’s departure would create a vacuum where organized labor may seek an advantage.
“The Teamsters have been trying to organize truckers down there without much success,” said a source. “This was in large part due to Steinke’s resistance to the idea.”
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