By Mark Edward Nero
On April 14, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted to hire Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) member Mario Cordero as the new executive director of the Port of Long Beach.
Before joining the Maritime Commission, Cordero, a Long Beach resident and attorney, was a longtime member of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Cordero is expected to join the port May 15, and earn about $350,000 annually.
“After a comprehensive international search, the Board of Harbor Commissioners recognized that Mario Cordero is an ideal choice to lead the Port of Long Beach,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement.
“Mario not only has a deep understanding of the maritime industry from his leadership of the Federal Maritime Commission, but his service as a member of the Long Beach Harbor Commission gives him extensive knowledge of the needs of our carriers, terminal operators, cargo owners, and other trade partners,” Guzman said. “Mario approaches challenges from a bipartisan, collaborative perspective and as we seek to keep our port thriving, his combination of national and local experience is well-suited to carry us into the future.”
Cordero was appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission 2011, with a term that was to expire in June 2019. He served as FMC chairman from April 2013 until January 2017. He was a Long Beach Harbor Commissioner from 2003 to 2011, and was president of the Harbor Commission from 2007 to 2008.
During his tenure on the Harbor Commission, he helped to spearhead the port’s pioneering Green Port Policy, formalized in 2005 and aimed at reconciling economic growth and environmental stewardship.
Cordero has practiced law for more than 30 years and has taught political science at Long Beach City College. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach, and his law degree from the University of Santa Clara.
“I am so pleased to be coming back home to the Port of Long Beach,” Cordero said. “The broad perspective I gained at the national level, along with my many years of service as a Long Beach Harbor Commissioner and my love for the community of Long Beach, will allow me to hit the ground running. I’ll be working closely with the Commission and our highly experienced staff in the months ahead to carry out our ambitious capital improvements and ensure that our customers and community members are well-served.”
The Harbor Commission made the decision on Cordero in an executive session following its regular April 10 board meeting. The Commission confirmed Cordero’s appointment at a special April 14 public meeting. Cordero will succeed Duane Kenagy, who has served as Interim Executive Director since late 2016, after the sudden resignation of then-chief executive Jon Slangerup last September.