The new head of the nation’s second-busiest seaport starts his first official day on the job today.
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday unanimously approved former FedEx Canada President Jon Slangerup as its new executive director and gave him a three-year, $350,000-a-year contract.
The board also voted to keep Acting Executive Director Al Moro in his acting role for six more months to ensure a smooth transition.
Slangerup replaces Christopher Lytle, who left nearly a year ago to lead the Port of Oakland.
Slangerup will manage a staff of about 490 full-time Harbor Department employees, a projected $858 million budget, and a port that handles more than $180 billion in trade annually and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs regionally.
Board members offered their thanks to Moro and spoke of Slangerup’s leadership experience in logistics and green technologies, a plus for an entity known as The Green Port.
He led firms that worked on alternative fuels, renewable energy and water treatment. He helped the South Coast Air Quality Management District build its first hydrogen fueling station in California and sat on former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hydrogen Highway Team for four years.
Lori Ann Farrell, who chaired the selection committee, called Slangerup “a quick study” and a seasoned chief executive office with extensive experience in energy.
“He is the ideal mix of leadership, vision and execution needed to take this port into the next decade,” she said.
Board members said Slangerup stood out from a sea of candidates cultivated by Boyden Global Executive Search, which over the course of six months networked more than 200 candidates, interviewed more than 60 applicants and brought to the harbor commission eight finalists.
“Jon will make us a better port,” said Commissioner Rich Dines.
Slangerup, who plans to meet the entire harbor staff today as one of his first official duties in the new role, is seen as someone who can grow profits and take companies to the next level. During his seven-year tenure, he was responsible for growing FedEx Canada from a small regional operation to a major international express logistics company.
Mayor Bob Foster described Slangerup as “a turnaround guy.”
“I look at myself as a builder, both of structure and teams,” Slangerup said. “I’m a long-term thinker and extremely hands-on. People are going to be surprised at how involved I am, not just with the key senior staff. I’m talking about all the way down throughout the organization. I get involved with people, and I want to hear what’s going on. I don’t want anything filtered.”
Being hands-on is not the same as micro-managing, he said.
“Micro-managing is making decisions for people,” he said. “I’m interested in team decisions. People want to know who you are and where you stand and you want to get involved with a team dynamic. You can’t do it by being isolated.”
Slangerup graduated with honors and a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree in business administration from Kennedy-Western University. He is married with three grown sons.
Slangerup will lead the port as it faces competition for market share from other ports on the East Coast and other countries and getting a handle on the port’s 10-year, $4.5 billion capital projects program, which includes the $1.2 billion replacement of the now-delayed Gerald Desmond Bridge and the $1.3 billion redevelopment of Middle Harbor, a project that links two aging terminals into a megaterminal.