By Mark Edward Nero
On Jan. 11, Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt formally announced that after more than a decade and a half leading the port, he’s retiring on June 30.
“It has been an enormous privilege to have served the port for the past 16 years,” Wyatt said in a statement. “I believe the port has never been in a stronger position to address opportunities and challenges than it is today,” he said. “I will leave in June knowing the future is bright for this organization.”
Wyatt was selected to lead the port in 2001 and he began work just weeks after the September 11 attacks. Prior to his appointment, Wyatt served as Chief of Staff to former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for seven years, preceded by six years as President of the Oregon Business Council, and five years as Executive Director of the Association for Portland Progress, which at the time was Portland’s downtown development association.
A native Oregonian, Wyatt served as a state representative from the Astoria area from 1974–1977.
The port has already launched a search for a new executive director and has hired Orange County, Calif.-based executive search firm McDermott and Bull to conduct the process.
As part of that process, the port commission is expected to adopt a job profile and search criteria and then finalize the search process during its Feb. 8 regular public meeting.
In the spring, candidates are to be interviewed by an advisory group, and a Port Commission executive session would be held to interview finalists.
The commission could then approve and hire a candidate during a public meeting by the time of Wyatt’s departure in June.