Rick Ferrin resigned Thursday as chief executive of the Jacksonville Port Authority. Chris Kauffmann, the port's chief operating officer, was named interim replacement.
The Florida Times-Union newspaper said Ferrin submitted his resignation at a board meeting that had been called to determine whether he should be terminated.
The port authority said Ferrin agreed to stay at the port "in a new position where he will exercise his proven communications and analytical skills to provide the board and senior management with insight and analysis on strategic issues critical to the continued growth of Jacksonville and the port."
The port authority said it will conduct a search for a new port director.
Ferrin came to Jacksonville in 1997 to manage the marine division of the Jacksonville Port Authority. At the time, the authority had two divisions, aviation and maritime. He took over as CEO of the seaport when the port authority was divided into airport and seaport authorities.
Ferrin, 60, previously was director of engineering at the Port of Oakland.
David Kulik, chairman of the port board, said in a statement that for more than a year, he and Ferrin "have been discussing the substantial challenges, opportunities and obstacles that face the port in a new and quickly changing era in the shipping industry.
"Jaxport has grown and changed dramatically in the past decade under Rick's leadership," Kulik said. This natural evolution creates a need, periodically, for new skills and a change in management's focus in order to achieve our long term goals. Consistent with these discussions, Rick has agreed to step aside and accept a new role at the port."
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