Former global logistics executive was association’s unanimous choice
Chris Connor, AAPA's incoming CEO
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas … announced today that it has unanimously chosen Christopher J. Connor as the association’s next president and chief executive officer.
Mr. Connor, the former chairman and CEO of Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics (WWL) who currently serves as chairman of the Business Advisory Board for Brooklyn, NY-based East River BioSolutions, will begin Sept. 23 transitioning into his new role, eventually succeeding Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO since 1991.
Mr. Nagle will exit his post on Oct. 16, the final day of AAPA’s 2019 Annual Convention and Expo in Norfolk, VA.
"As part of an ongoing succession plan and further alignment of AAPA’s organizational structure with the five goals contained in its strategic plan, the association’s Executive Committee is pleased to have found the best individual to assume leadership of this hemisphere-wide association representing seaports," said William Friedman, AAPA chairman of the board and CEO of the Port of Cleveland. "Chris Connor has a track record of transformational leadership in the ocean shipping industry. This, combined with his deep industry knowledge and institutional tenure, makes him uniquely qualified to lead AAPA successfully into the future."
Mr. Connor’s selection caps a search process led by Tim McNamara, vice chair, partner and head of the Transportation & Infrastructure Practice of Odgers Berndtson, a global executive search firm which specializes in placing leaders in some of the largest and most prestigious organizations throughout the world. A large initial prospect pool was narrowed by stages to a group who interviewed with the association’s CEO selection committee and its Executive Committee.
“It’s an honor to have been selected as the next CEO of the AAPA,” said Mr. Connor. “I’ve spent over 35 years working in the ocean shipping industry and through that lens I’ve developed a deep appreciation and respect for the vitally integral role that ports play in global commerce. I’m thrilled to take the helm at AAPA and represent its more than 130 member ports in North America, The Caribbean, and South America.”
He added: “What excites me most about AAPA’s membership is the enormous economic strength of the ports industry in the Western Hemisphere, and the opportunity to harness that strength in the best interests of all the association’s members.”
Kurt Nagle noted that selecting Mr. Connor was the best choice from a deep pool of interested and highly qualified candidates. "I am pleased with the selection of a maritime industry leader and globally-recognized expert who will ensure a smooth transition while continuing to advance the industry’s interests. I believe Chris will be a great fit for AAPA and am very pleased that he accepted the position."
In addition to serving in the top spot and several other key positions at WWL between 1994 and 2017, Mr. Connor serves on the board of directors and as a senior advisor to The Pasha Group, a diversified global logistics and transportation company serving the automotive, maritime and relocation industries. He is also on the Executive Committee and a board member of the American Maritime Partnership, a coalition representing the domestic maritime industry. Previously, he was director of sales and marketing for Crowley Maritime Corporation for seven years, and regional manager and country sales manager for United States Lines for six year in the 1980s.
Mr. Friedman thanked the AAPA board of directors and staff for not allowing the search process to disrupt the organization's operations or strategic activities. "Kurt Nagle and his team have done a remarkable job during this period of staying focused and moving forward," said Mr. Friedman. "The AAPA team can take justifiable pride in its accomplishments and have confidence that we will continue building this organization into an influential powerhouse going forward."
About AAPA Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2017 totaled 4.303 billion metric tons in volume and US$2.675 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.741 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.024 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.90 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.305 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable. For more information, visit www.aapa-ports.org. On Twitter: http://twitter.com/AAPA_Seaports