Tom Eagar, CEO of the North Carolina State Ports Authority, was forced out of office this week in a shakeup of the state’s Department of Transportation.
In a letter to business associates of the ports, N.C. State Transportation Secretary Eugene Conti Jr. wrote that the change is part of a larger reorganization at the Department of Transportation and the entities that operate under its structure.
The ports authority, which controls the container port of Wilmington and the bulk/breakbulk port at Morehead City, lost nearly $3.5 million in the fiscal year ended June 30 despite increasing revenue. The port lost about $6 million in 2009-2010 and about $4.3 million in the year before.
Eager, who has been CEO of the ports authority since 2004, was stymied in 2010 by community opposition to his plan to build a new deep-water container terminal at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The project was dubbed the North Carolina International Terminal.
Conti reassured port clients and customers that there would be "no changes in the level of service we intend to provide to you."
"The rest of the NC Ports' management team remains in place and will continue to work closely with you," he wrote in the letter.
Jeff Strader, the port authority’s chief financial officer, will manage day-to-day operations as the state embarks in the coming months on a national search for a statewide logistics director, Conti said in the letter. The person is expected to oversee the authority and the N.C. Global TransPark, a 2,500-acre industrial and airport site in Kinston.
Eagar had worked for the ports since 2000, rising to chief executive officer in August 2004 after a short time as interim CEO. He was earning $165,830 as the ports' top leader. Previously, he worked as the ports' chief operations officer and as deputy executive director for operations.