Friday, May 30, 2014

New Port of LA Executive Director Chosen

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 27, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti nominated Gene Seroka, an executive with APL shipping line, as the next Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles.

The port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners will consider the nomination of Seroka during its June 5 meeting. The nomination is also subject to confirmation by the Los Angeles City Council.

“I’m confident that Gene will be a strong leader who will enhance our international trade agenda, increase reliability and efficiency through effective management and labor relations, and ensure our port is a sustainable and positive neighbor to the Harbor community,” Garcetti said.

Seroka is currently Head of Commercial in the Americas Region for APL, which is a subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), and the world’s seventh largest ocean carrier. He has led more than 1,000 employees and all of APL’s Sales and Operations activities in North, Central, and South America and managed sales for the company’s liner shipping as well as overseeing its four US marine terminals and intermodal operations throughout the geography.

“I’m thrilled that Mayor Garcetti has tapped me to lead the Port of Los Angeles,” Seroka said in a statement released by the port. “I look forward to focusing our operations to provide world-class customer service while continuing to invest in a healthy and vibrant harbor community.”

Before becoming Head of Commercial for APL, he was Vice President, Middle East and East Africa, based in Dubai, for NOL group from April 2008 to April 2010. From October 2005 to April 2008, Seroka was Vice President of APL Logistics Ltd. in Singapore.

“Gene Seroka is uniquely qualified to lead the Port of Los Angeles,” Harbor Commission President Vilma Martinez said. “His maritime and global commerce expertise, leadership skills, and strategic vision are exactly what we need.”

The nonprofit, independent trade group the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association applauded the selection of Seroka.

“Gene has extensive experience within the maritime industry and is greatly respected by all segment of the international trade community,” PMSA President John McLaurin said. “The May of Los Angeles and the Harbor Commission are to be congratulated for conducting a transparent, thorough and methodical search and hiring such a talented individual.”

Seroka replaces interim Executive Director Gary Lee Moore, who has served in the role since October 2013. He replaced Geraldine Knatz, who retired after a 36-year career in the maritime industry, including the last six as the Port of LA’s executive director.

Garcetti said Moore will now go back to his position as City Engineer of the City of Los Angeles, where he is responsible for the city’s public infrastructure network.