Chris Lytle will step down as executive director of the Port of Oakland on July 19, ending a 53-year career in trade and transportation.
Chris Lytle will retire as executive director of the Port of Oakland on July 19, after six years heading Northern California’s largest port. He will remain as a consultant to the port through the end of the year.
Port attorney Danny Wan will become acting executive director pending a search for Lytle’s successor.
Lytle, 73, ran the Port of Long Beach from 2011 to 2013. During his 53-year career, he has been an executive with P&O Ports, APM Terminals, Sea-Land Service and the French shipping line CMA CGM.
In May, the Containerization and Intermodal Institute announced it would give 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 Ces Butner, the president of the Port of Oakland’s Board of Port Commissioners.
While leading the port, which overseas the city’s port, airport and real estate properties around Jack London Square, containerized cargo volumes have hit new highs in each of the past two years and passenger volume at Oakland International Airport have had five years of consecutive growth.
The former Oakland Army base property has been transformed into a Seaport Logistics Complex, and a 280,000-square-foot refrigerated cargo distribution center, Cool Port Oakland, opened.
Lytle led development of a five-year strategic plan for the port called Growth with Care, which commits the port to business expansion that benefits neighboring communities. 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 port has had to grapple with a number of major challenges during Lytle’s tenure, including the decision in 2016 by Outer Harbor Terminal, a joint venture of Ports America and Terminal Investment Ltd., to close its container terminal and file for bankruptcy. TraPac has since expanded into part of that former terminal.
An ongoing controversy is the attempt by the Oakland Athletics to acquire a former container terminal at the port as the site for a new baseball stadium. Those plans are being fiercely opposed by longshoremen and many port businesses that fear worsening traffic congestion and want the land preserved for maritime purposes.