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Photo by Joe Wilhelm Jr. - Louis Naranjo, director of procurement services for the port, presents the results of a search for an executive search firm to assist in the selection of the port's next CEO at the Monday meeting of the port's board of direc...
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jan. 29, 201312:00 PM EST

Port plans for new CEO by May

by: Joe Wilhelm Jr.

Chicago-based executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles was selected by the Jacksonville Port Authority board of directors Monday to assist in the selection of a new chief executive officer for the port.

The firm was chosen from a pool of 11 applicants and will be paid $99,000, plus direct expenses, for the service.

The board supported the recommendation of its executive search firm selection committee comprising port Senior Director of Planning and Properties David Kaufman, Senior Director of Facilities Development Joe Miller, Senior Director of Finance Aaron Kendrick and Senior Director of Trade Development and Marketing Raul Alfonso.

Three of the four members scored Heidrick & Struggles with a 95 or above out of a 100 possible points. Kaufman scored it a 70.

"Most of (Heidrick & Struggles') maritime executive search experience was for private sector companies, but we are a public/government business, so I didn't think they ranked as high as other applicants in the category of qualifications and experience," said Kaufman.

His highest score for qualifications and experience was 18 out of 20 points for Bob Murray & Associates, which finished eighth overall.

"In terms of their ability as an executive search firm, I am very comfortable with Heidrick & Struggles," said Kaufman.

JPA board member John Anderson said he also was curious about Heidrick & Struggles' ability to place an executive in the public/government sector and asked Louis Naranjo, port director of procurement services, where it has previously placed maritime executives.

Naranjo listed APM Terminals, Carnival Cruise Lines, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, CSX World Terminals, Maersk Line, Ports America and Royal Caribbean International as companies Heidrick & Struggles has served.

"So they have limited experience with publicly owned, taxpayer-owned ports," said Anderson.

With the information, Anderson requested the contract winner be required to provide the board with a compensation matrix for ports of similar size from around the U.S. The matrix will include salary ranges, cash bonuses, benefits and total compensation.

Heidrick & Struggles stated in its application that it would be able to complete the search in three months, which would place the deadline for the search at the end of April.

The company stated that if it couldn't complete the task by the end of April it would continue for another three months and only ask for its expenses to be covered.

Anderson also asked if Heidrick & Struggles had any conflict of interest with other executive searches it was conducting for other ports. Naranjo informed him the company did not have a conflict.

The board intends to work on the summary of responsibilities and general functions of the CEO over the next month and board Chairman Jim Citrano informed the board it should be prepared to meet more often during the CEO search process.

"We will be doing a lot more work than previous boards have," said Citrano.

Citrano also assigned members of the board specific areas to monitor and interact with staff. Vice Chair Joe York will be board liaison for government relations, Anderson, treasurer, will be liaison for the port's strategic plan, Secretary John Falconetti will be the liaison for Mile Point, member Reginald Gaffney will be the liaison for Mayport and the St. Johns River Ferry and member Robert Spohrer will be liaison for environmental issues.

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