After more than three years at the helm, the Board of Southern Ports have announced the resignation of chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin on Tuesday, June 12.
Mr Fertin said he had tendered his resignation to further his career and pursue new opportunities.
Board chairman Robert Cole said Esperance Ports and Assets general manager Alan Byers would serve as acting chief executive officer while the board looked for a suitable replacement.
Mr Fertin had been dealt a number of challenges during his time as chief, including the amalgamation of Albany, Bunbury and Esperance ports into a single business.
More recently, the authority were dealt another blow, with confirmation that mining giant Cleveland-Cliffs would cease shipping out of Esperance Port by June 30.
The announcement comes just weeks before Cliffs’ are scheduled to make their last shipment out of Esperance Port on June 30, with the state government still yet to secure a buyer for the company’s Koolyanobbing assets.
Mr Fertin said he would assist during the transition and in the company’s collaboration with the state government in negotiations to ensure the future of Esperance Port’s iron ore trade.
Mr Cole said the company thanked Mr Fertin for his service, having experienced strong year-on-year growth and diversification of trade across the board as well as a significant decline in operating costs per tonne.
“Nicolas led the changes required to combine the three businesses into one,” he said.
“It has been a complex and demanding task and his dedicated efforts resulted in Southern Ports achieving record results in the 2017 financial year in each of the three ports, as well as the business as a whole.”
Mr Fertin thanked his co-workers for their efforts during a period of change and said it had been a privilege to serve as chief executive officer.
“I am proud of the transformational changes that were achieved by all employees working together with the support of stakeholders, three communities and our port users,” he said.
“Having established the foundations reported in the government’s Post-Amalgamation Review last February, I have decided the time has come to hand over the leadership of Southern Ports to new management for the next chapter in Southern Ports’ history.”