The Port of Oakland announced today that Executive Director Chris Lytle would retire July 19, after 53 years in trade and transportation. The Port said Mr. Lytle has agreed to remain as a consultant to the Port through year-end.
Mr. Lytle, 73, is concluding his sixth year at the helm in Oakland. His latest three-year contract expires July 21. The Port said Port Attorney Danny Wan would become Acting Executive Director pending a search for Mr. Lytle's successor.
A respected and highly visible executive in trade and transportation, Mr. Lytle previously ran the Port of Long Beach. In May 2019, the Containerization and Intermodal Institute announced it would give Mr. Lytle its Lifetime Achievement Award this fall.
"Chris Lytle is one of the best-known and most respected executives in the industry and it has been our good fortune to have him as our leader," said Board of Port Commissioners President Ces Butner. "Our priority now is finding an able successor."
President Butner said Mr. Lytle would assist the Port in its search for a new Executive Director. He would also be asked to facilitate meetings with customers and the Acting Executive Director, as well as meet overseas with key clients.
Mr. Lytle joined the Port of Oakland in July 2013. He's credited with guiding the Port through an era of unprecedented growth that includes:
--Five years of consecutive increases in passenger volume at Oakland International Airport;
--All-time high containerized cargo volume in each of the past two years at the seaport;
--Record operating revenue for three straight years;
--Transformation of former Oakland Army Base property to a Seaport Logistics Complex;
--Development of Cool Port Oakland, a 280,000-square-foot refrigerated cargo distribution center; and
--Two long-range planning initiatives that set the Port on a course to the future.
Mr. Lytle led development of a 5-year strategic plan for the Port called Growth with Care. It commits the Port to business expansion that benefits neighboring communities.
Under the Executive Director's guidance, the Port also adopted a long-term air quality plan. Called the Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan, its stated objective is seeking a path to zero-emission seaport operations.
"The person on top gets the notoriety, but credit for our achievements goes to our employees," said Mr. Lytle. "They're the best in the business and it has been my privilege to serve with them."
Mr. Lytle began his career in 1966. He's been an executive with P&O Ports, APM Terminals, Sea-Land Service and French shipping line CMA CGM.