Chris Lytle was named the new executive director of the Port of Oakland last week. A maritime shipping industry ¬veteran, he was selected after a four-month global search, said a news release from the port.

“The Port Commission set a high standard for its next leader and has successfully achieved this goal with the selection of Chris Lytle, who has a proven track record of growing business while engaging the community and ensuring leading environmental stewardship,”  board president Gilda Gonzales said.

The port’s immediate goals include transforming its maritime business, continuing to grow aviation and cargo volume through Oakland International Airport, rebuilding public trust through policy strengthening initiatives, and restructuring to be more responsive to the market and community, according to officials.

Predecessor Omar Benjamin retired abruptly after it was discovered that he and other port officials ran up a tab at a strip club that was expensed as port business. Other goals include completing major development projects such as the Oakland Army Base redevelopment, and enhancing the port’s 18 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square, and increasing the positive job creation and economic impact of the port throughout the region.

“The future of the Port of Oakland is bright, and I am excited to be a part of the team as we work to realize its tremendous potential. My family and I are also really looking forward to living and working in the Oakland area once again,” Lytle said in the statement.

Lytle currently serves as executive director of the Port of Long Beach, a position he has held since November 2011. Prior to that he worked as that port’s deputy executive director and chief operating officer from 2008 to 2011. He joined the Port of Long Beach as one of four managing directors in September 2006, overseeing the port’s trade relations and port operations bureau.

Before joining the Port of Long Beach management team, his jobs included serving as vice president of West Coast operations for the French-based shipping line CMA CGM. Lytle is expected to begin in July 2013. Until that time, Deborah Ale Flint will continue to serve as acting executive director, and, upon Lytle’s arrival, she will continue in a senior port executive leadership position.

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