The Virginia Port Authority announced Wednesday that Chief Financial Officer Rodney Oliver will become its interim executive director, taking over for Jerry Bridges who is scheduled to step down as head of the state agency at the end of October.
Oliver is also deputy executive director of administration, in charge of human resources, information technology, contracts and real estate. He has worked at the VPA for 13 years.
Oliver has been involved in many major decisions, including the long-term lease by the port of the APM Terminal in Portsmouth, issuing bonds, establishing a master equipment lease program to provide more capital for port projects and outsourcing the agency's IT functions, the port authority said.
Bridges' departure coincides with a state government review of three private sector proposals to assume responsibility for operating the port under a long-term concession agreement. A decision to privatize the Port of Virginia would minimize the role of the port director, which could explain Bridges' desire to leave. But VPA Chairman Michael Quillen hinted in a recent interview
that Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration and the Board of Commissioners had lost confidence in Bridges.
The VPA board will host a public hearing Oct. 4 in downtown Norfolk to receive public input from stakeholders on the private proposals to manage the Port of Virginia. The VPA board, which was overhauled in a surprise move by Gov. McDonnell a year ago, has spent the past 12 months conducting an independent review of the port's operations, financial condition, infrastructure, marketing and economic development efforts as it looks for ways to make the facility more competitive as the maritime industry migrates to bigger ships that make fewer port calls. - Eric Kulisch