JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Paul Anderson is just starting his new job at the Tampa Port Authority. The former CEO left JAXPORT with a year left on his contract. For the first time, we’re hearing why.
In an article published Sunday in the Tampa Bay Times, Anderson said a lack of certainty with the port’s Board of Directors is what prompted his move to Tampa. He told the paper, “I had five board chairmen in 18 months.” He said that was sending the “wrong signal” to global customers, and that “institutional knowledge” was being lost.
"One thing we have always said is this port is not about one person. This port is not about one business," said JAXPORT spokeswoman Nancy Rubin. She didn't have anything to say about Anderson's opinion. However, she did say the port is moving forward with finding his replacement. "Our mission here is to develop these facilities for the good of the community. It's a mission that we take very seriously."
JAXPORT’s Board of Directors is appointed by the Mayor and the Governor. It’s a seven-member, unpaid board which provides policy guidance for the authority.
Action News contacted the Mayor’s Office to see what it had to say about Anderson's comments. But we haven't heard back yet. We also tried contacting board members. Again, no one was available.
Anderson told the paper quote, "At this point in my career, I'd like to have stability." And he says he's found that in Tampa where is making $350,000 a year, about $30,000 more than he was making in Jacksonville.
Action News also tried contacting Anderson himself. We left a message with the media representative for the Tampa Port Authority requesting a comment, and haven't heard back yet.
Rubin says the board is going through the process of looking for an international search firm to help it find a new, qualified CEO candidate. In the meantime, Roy Schleicher has been named interim CEO.
No timetable has been set on exactly when a new CEO would be named. Rubin said the board would like it to happen soon.
The search for a CEO of JAXPORT hasn't stopped the port's progress. Just last week, Governor Scott announced the port would be getting $38 million in state and local money to help fix the Mile Point navigational hazard, and therefore, make Jaxport more competitive.