By Mark Edward Nero
Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick suddenly resigned from the position on Feb. 1 after less than two-and-a-half years on the job, and nearly eight months before his three-year contract was set to expire.
“I have come to realize that my talents and strengths are best suited to the private sector, where I plan to return,” Fick stated in his resignation letter.
Fick’s departure came days after he was placed on administrative leave while undergoing a performance review by the five-member Port of Seattle Commission. Neither the impetus for the review or details of it have been publicly stated.
During a special Feb. 2 meeting, the Port Commission accepted Fick’s resignation and appointed Chief Operating Officer Dave Soike interim CEO.
“We accept the resignation of Ted Fick, and acknowledge his desire to return to the private sector,” Commission President Tom Albro said in a prepared statement. “We are currently working through the details of his departure and will defer further comment until those details are resolved.”
Fick came to the port in September 2014 after he was hired to replace outgoing CEO Tay Yoshitani, who was retiring from the job after being with the port since 2007.
Prior to the Port of Seattle, Fick spent many years working in the Puget Sound region’s manufacturing and industrial community, beginning at his family’s Tacoma-based company, Fick Foundry, from 1977 to 1983. Then, from 1983 to 2000 he worked for PACCAR, one of the Pacific Northwest’s primary manufacturers, and held leadership positions within both PACCAR and its Kenworth division.
He’s also been employed by Ingersoll Rand Ltd. (2004-2007) and Polar Corp. Inc. (2009-2013), among other companies.
Soike, who had already been running the port while Fick was on administrative leave, has been with the port in various roles since 1980, beginning as a junior engineer. Just this past March, he had been named by Fick to the newly-created position of Chief Operating Officer.