The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans announced today that President and CEO Gary LaGrange will retire at the end of his current contract in April, 2017. The Board is expected to name Brandy D. Christian, the Port’s current Chief Operating Officer, to succeed LaGrange.

"Gary LaGrange led the Port of New Orleans to great heights over the past 15 years as President and CEO," said William Bergeron, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. "The Board is grateful for the many contributions he made to the Port and to the maritime industry during his distinguished career in New Orleans."

LaGrange, a 40-year veteran of the maritime industry, served as President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans since 2001. During his tenure, the Port invested more than $500 million in infrastructure, opening state-of-the-art facilities including new container, intermodal, cruise and refrigerated terminals. Port revenues reached record heights for the fourth consecutive year in 2015, topped the half-million TEU mark for the first time and topped one million cruise passengers for the second consecutive year.

It was LaGrange’s leadership that brought the Port of New Orleans back into operation 12 days after Hurricane Katrina, the most extensive natural disaster in U.S. history. He has also been a tireless industry advocate touting the importance of ports and waterways to the local and national economy.

The Board is expected to authorize Chairman Bergeron to negotiate a contract with Christian to succeed LaGrange as President and CEO.

Bergeron praised Christian’s background and her role as current Port of New Orleans COO. “Brandy Christian’s background in strategic initiatives, civic relations, and cruise and cargo development will serve the Port well for many years to come.” said Bergeron.

Christian joined the Port of New Orleans as COO in January 2015 after 14 years with the Port of San Diego, where she served for five years as vice president of strategy and business development. During her tenure with California’s fourth-largest cargo port, Christian was the driving force behind securing major accounts for the cruise and cargo business lines at the Port. She was also instrumental in significantly improving operational processes and reducing costs for the public agency.

"Brandy Christian is the right person to continue our momentum and lead the Port of New Orleans to the next level of success,” LaGrange said. He thanked the Board of Commissioners, Port tenants and customers, and most importantly the Port’s employees for their support and hard work during his tenure in New Orleans.

"I have said it before and I’ll say it again. You will not find a better team anywhere in the maritime community than here at the Port of New Orleans,” LaGrange said.