Sanborn to head new Americas office for DP World
One week after withdrawing his name from consideration to be U.S. Maritime Administrator, David C. Sanborn has returned to work at Dubai Ports World, where he will head a new Americas regional office.
The state-owned company decided to immediately consolidate management of its four marine terminals in Canada and South America under the new structure to improve operations, Chief Executive Mohammed Sharaf said in an e-mail message to employees, that was obtained by Shippers’ NewsWire. The Americas office will also be responsible for new business opportunities or acquisitions in Latin America, he said.
DP World was forced by Congress last month to sell P&O Ports North America, the U.S. subsidiary it recently acquired as part of its $6.8 billion deal for British ports operator Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., after opponents questioned whether a Dubai company would jeopardize security at American ports. P&O Ports North America operates nearly two-dozen terminals and stevedoring businesses. P&O Ports Canada is not part of P&O Ports North America and is unaffected by the proposed selloff.
Under a temporary arrangement put in place a month ago, DP World’s container terminals in Cabello, Venezuela and Caucedo, Dominican Republic, reported to headquarters in Dubai, while the port facilities in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Vancouver, Canada, reported to London, previously the headquarters of P&O.
“We have taken another look at this arrangement and believe that even during the interim six months period this is not conducive to good business practice. We have therefore established an Americas region with immediate effect,” Sharaf said.
The six-month period refers to the timetable DP World has set to sell the North American subsidiary to an American entity.
Sanborn previously was DP World’s director of operations in Europe and Latin America. He speaks Spanish and has been based in Latin America during his 25-year career in the maritime industry. Sanborn, who joined DP World in 2004, will be based in Caucedo.
Edward Bilkey, DP World’s chief operating officer, testified before the Senate during hearings on the P&O acquisition that before President Bush nominated him to head MarAd the company had planned to put Sanborn in Hong Kong to run Asia Pacific operations.
Sanborn asked President Bush to withdraw his nomination after the political firestorm that sprung up over DP World’s takeover of facilities within several U.S. ports. Several senators, who originally favored Sanborn before the transaction became public, had asked that consideration of his nomination be postponed until the approval for the sale was resolved.
DP World acquired the Venezuela and Dominican Republic terminal operations in January 2005 as part of a $1.15 billion transaction for Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX World Terminals.
The Canadian and Argentinean businesses were part of the P&O acquisition in March. Sanborn will take over their management from Michael Seymour, who was also responsible for the two non-American operations in addition to his duties as president of P&O Ports North America. The staff that managed activity in Canada and South America will remain in P&O Ports North America’s New Jersey office for the time being, Sharaf said.