Port of Oakland Director Chris Lytle Announces His Retirement

Courtesy Port of Oakland

By The Maritime Executive 07-11-2019 01:29:08

The Port of Oakland announced Wednesday that its executive director, Chris Lytle, will retire on July 19 after a 53-year career in trade and transportation.

 Mr. Lytle, 73, is now in his sixth year at the Port of Oakland, and his latest three-year contract expires on July 21. Port attorney Danny Wan will serve as acting executive director until the selection process for Mr. Lytle's sucessor is complete. Mr. Lytle has agreed to work with the port as a consultant through the end of the year, and he will assist in the search for a new executive director.  

“Chris Lytle is one of the best-known and most respected executives in the industry and it has been our good fortune to have him as our leader,” said Board of Port Commissioners President Ces Butner. “Our priority now is finding an able successor.”

Mr. Lytle came aboard at the Port of Oakland in 2013 after serving as the head of the Port of Long Beach. During his tenure, he has overseen two years' of all-time record high containerized cargo volume; record operating revenue for three years running; the conversion of part of the Oakland Army Base facility into a new logistics complex; and several strategic planning initiatives, including a long term air quality plan aimed at zero-emission operations. 

“The person on top gets the notoriety, but credit for our achievements goes to our employees,” said Mr. Lytle. “They’re the best in the business and it has been my privilege to serve with them.”   

Mr. Lytle entered the maritime industry in the mid-1960s, the era when containerized freight first began to achieve commercial prominence. Over the course of his career, he was an executive with P&O Ports, APM Terminals, Sea-Land Service and CMA CGM, and he held positions overseas in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has served on the boards of the Steamship Association of Southern California, the Propeller Club of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Marine Exchange of Southern California, and was a member of the executive committee for the Center for International Trade and Transportation. 

In May 2019, the Containerization and Intermodal Institute announced it would give Mr. Lytle its Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony this fall.