The Jacksonville Port Authority's board of directors voted Monday morning to offer its chief executive officer position to Brian
W. Taylor, a former executive vice president and chief
operating officer of Horizon Lines, which is one of four carriers that offers shipping services between Jacksonville and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
They also elected AT&T executive Joe York to serve as the next chairman, taking over from James Citrano on July 1.
Taylor left Horizon in November
2012. He has recently been working as senior vice president of sales and
operations for New Breed Logistics in High Point, N.C. He started his
career in the mid-1980s for Sea-Land Service, the predecessor of Horizon and worked in a number of
management roles both in the United States and Asia for the former liner
The board was initially divided 4-2 on whether to extend the offer to be CEO to Taylor or Roy Schleicher, the port's executive vice president who has been serving as interim CEO since Paul Anderson left Jacksonville to head the Port of Tampa last December.
Schleicher has served as Jaxport’s executive vice president since 2011
following 10 years leading the port’s international cargo marketing
efforts and has overseen more than a decade of volume and revenue
growth. The port has said he was a leader in the negotiating team which secured the
contract with MOL for the TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point and
leads the port’s development of future terminals.
The board, however, voted to extend the offer unanimously to Taylor.
By Monday afternoon, questions were being raised about a severance agreement Taylor signed with Horizon last November.
According to an 8-K report Horizon filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in November, Taylor would not receive benefits under Horizon's existing executive servance plan, but received a package that included two years base salary of $370,000 per year
, payable in accordance with regular payroll practices and amounts payable under the company’s 2012 management incentive plan, and payable to the same extent that bonuses are payable to other executive officers covered by the same plan. In consideration, Taylor agreed not to compete with Horizon for two years.
The Florida Times-Union
reported that Jaxport board member John Anderson, who along with Citrano, was initially in favor of extending the offer to Schleicher, said Monday afternoon the search firm helping the port find a new CEO should have provided the separation agreement before it voted to select Taylor
. The newspaper quoted Anderson as saying, "I would want to stop the process until we vet it out" and that "it would appear to be a definite conflict."
Horizon competes with Sea Star Line, Crowley, and Trailer Bridge when moving cargo between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.
said York did not think the separation agreement would create any conflict of interest for Taylor, because regardless of how Horizon Lines does financially Taylor will get the same amount. He called the severance deal "pretty standard." - Chris Dupin