Glendening to name port chief today

July 13, 1995|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Sun Staff Writer

A top official of the port of Los Angeles is expected to be named executive director of the Maryland Port Administration today, ending a four-month nationwide search.

Tay Yoshitani, deputy executive director of the nation's second-largest port, will be named by Gov. Parris N. Glendening during a news conference at the World Trade Center this afternoon, according to port sources.

Mr. Yoshitani was the unanimous choice of a 10-member search committee named in March after Michael P. Angelos and his deputy, G. Gregory Russell, resigned in the midst of a federal investigation into possible insider stock trading.

The search has taken twice as long as anticipated, but the panel was said to be especially impressed with Mr. Yoshitani's credentials, which span both the private and public sectors of the maritime industry.

For the past six years, he has been deputy executive director of marine operations for the port of Los Angeles, the agency's second-highest post.

In moving to Baltimore, Mr. Yoshitani will head a far smaller port -- the nation's 14th largest -- and one with vastly different problems.

While the relatively few West Coast ports attract plenty of cargo, the far more numerous ones on the East Coast fight fiercely for business. In coming months, competition will become even more intense as the shipping industry continues to consolidate and the number of ships calling at ports dwindles.

After losing cargo to Norfolk, Va., and others for eight years, Baltimore has regained business during the past 2 1/2 years, with a rise of 17 percent in 1994. Its recent success is believed to have been a factor in attracting a top official of such a large port.

A nationwide advertising campaign for the top job here drew several hundred applications, although the $110,000 salary that had been Mr. Angelos' reportedly was a deterrent to attracting candidates from private industry. It was not immediately known how much Mr. Yoshitani will be paid.

The executive director salary is somewhat higher than the average salary of $96,182 for port directors nationwide, though lower than at most major ports.

The agency's salary structure permits bonuses during the port's profitable years.

Port officials, including Acting Director Thomas L. Osborne, and members of the search committee refused to comment yesterday on the appointment.

Mr. Yoshitani will become the sixth person in 10 years to head the state agency that oversees operation of Maryland's five public marine terminals.

The high turnover has often been cited by Norfolk and other major competitors as a sign of instability.

In March, less than a year after they were appointed, Mr. Angelos and Mr. Russell resigned in the midst of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the purchase of stock by Mr. Angelos before Baltimore Bancorp's 1994 merger with New Jersey-based First Fidelity Bancorp.

Mr. Russell, who was a member of Baltimore Bancorp's board of directors, wrote Mr. Angelos a check for $50,000 to purchase bank stock, sparking the probe.

While the port operations appear to have continued smoothly, the resignations reverberated through the shipping and port industry. In order to signal stability, Governor Glendening named the labor and business search committee in March, just days after Mr. Angelos' resignation.

At that time, the governor said he hoped to hire a director who would stay four to eight years.

For several weeks, attention had been focused on the possibility of a woman being named to the port's top job, because Governor Glendening and Maryland Transportation Secretary David L. Winstead had expressed concern about the lack of any minority person heading one of the state transportation agencies.

One of Mr. Yoshitani's first tasks will likely be selection of a deputy director. Several MPA officials who applied for the executive director's job are said to be possible candidates.

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