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Port of Corpus Christi Commission names new CEO

Kent Britton
Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 18:56:11-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In a unanimous vote, the Port of Corpus Christi Authority Commission has named Kent Britton as its new leader.

"We felt like our internal candidate Kent Britton met the absolute requirements that we require for the Port of Corpus Christi and its continued success in the future," said Port Chairman Charlie Zahn, following the commission vote.

As KRIS 6 News has previously reported, Britton has been the port's interim CEO since May 30, following the resignation of Sean Strawbridge.

Britton edged out over 40 other candidates for the position in a process that some local and environmental leaders said lacked transparency.

In August, the port commission held a special meeting, giving the public an opportunity to provide input on what they would like to see in the next CEO.

Several environmental groups said via a press release Wednesday that requests to reset the hiring process "fell on deaf ears."

"The Port of Corpus Christi had no intention of listening to the community as our calls for more involvement in the selection process were ignore," they wrote in the statement. "One public meeting that was quickly put together to allow the community to address concerns does no absolve the Port of Corpus Christi."

Britton was named the port's financial controller in 2020 and is a certified public accountant with a bachelor of science degree in industrial management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

At the time of that appointment, a statement from the port said Britton "brings extensive experience in accounting and administrative functions to Port Corpus Christi."

Following the Wednesday vote, Britton said, "I love this port, I have a personal affinity for the folks who work here and for the job that we do and how we steward the environment here and partner with other communities in this area to make this place successful."

When asked what he would do differently as CEO, Britton told KRIS 6 that he would bring more transparency to the port and improve relations with surrounding public entities that have been strained in the past.

"If there has been a...for whatever reason...a lack of trust that's built up over the past few years, we've gotta break through that and we have to do that by being consistent and by continuing to engage them and ask them what does economic development in your region look like and what do you want it to look like?"

Britton will be paid an annual salary of $500,000 and will be eligible for an annual bonus. According to the employment agreement, that annual bonus cannot exceed 35 percent of $500,000.

Strawbridge had an annual salary of $575,000 and received a bonus of $140,000 earlier this year. In 2022, salary and bonuses totaled just over $800,000.