Ports corporation chief's services 'no longer required'

GPC chief executive Leo Zussino will finish in his position at the end of August.
GPC chief executive Leo Zussino will finish in his position at the end of August. Tom Huntley

GLADSTONE Ports Corporation chief executive Leo Zussino has been told his services are no longer required.

His contract will not be renewed when it ends in August. Mr Zussino made no secret of his desire to continue in the role for "a number of years", but accepted the board's decision on Thursday.

He said he looked forward to working hard over the final five months in his role.

A search will now begin for his replacement.

Mr Zussino would not comment on suggestions his axing was a political move by the Queensland Government.

He is a Labor Party member and from the moment Premier Campbell Newman won government, people have speculated his days were numbered.

Mr Zussino said he had not been told there were political motivations behind the decision and said he had always kept his political beliefs separate from his working life.

"It was decided that there was an issue in succession planning (for GPC) and a new CEO had to come in some time. I am devoted to the port. I would have been happy to stay," Mr Zussino said.
"But there comes a time when there needs to be change and the chairman and the board decided that (this year) is the time."

Whatever the reasons for Mr Zussino's exit, the decision brings to an end one of Gladstone's most famous leaderships.

Mr Zussino's supporters describe him as a visionary leader driven by social ideals.

His critics, and there are plenty, describe him as authoritarian, an industrial apologist responsible for environmental damage.

Mr Zussino spoke of his pride in what the ports had achieved over the years.

"Two decades ago, Gladstone had 15% youth unemployment. Parents used to come to me and say, 'Leo, what is my child going to do when they leave school?'

"I can assure you today, no parent asks that question.

"We have over full employment in Gladstone. We have guaranteed prosperity. We are recession-proofed and the port has played a very large role in that."

GPC chairman Mark Brodie said a search would begin soon for a new chief executive officer to replace Mr Zussino in September.

Mr Zussino has had a 21-year involvement with the ports corporation, first as chairman for nine years followed by 12 years as CEO.

In an email announcing the news, Mr Zussino said he "had offered the corporation the opportunity for me to stay to complete the transition of GPC into an organisation capable of accommodating the 60mtpa of new trade resulting from the LNG industry, the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal and increased coal exports from existing terminals".

"However, in the interest of leadership succession planning, it was decided that there was benefit in the new CEO being fully immersed in the significant transformation process underway at GPC, to ensure our ports accommodate the additional 60mtpa in an orderly manner," he said.

Mr Zussino's employment contract expires on August 31.

"I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Leo for the good work he has done during his time at Gladstone Ports Corporation," Mr Brodie said.

"His passion and determination towards his role is well known and, to this end, he has placed Gladstone Ports Corporation in a strong position going forward.

"In recent years, the port has experienced strong growth, and Leo and his team have implemented and overseen strategies that will allow the organisation to successfully deal with what is anticipated to be a significant increase in trade through the port in the coming years."

The GPC plans to have an interim CEO in place by June so the new CEO can work alongside Mr Zussino until the end of August to help ensure a smooth transition.

Topics:  gladstone harbour gladstone ports corporation leo zussino

WATCH: Teen's death defying stunt

15-year-old Jeffrey 'Jeffro' Bennett is attempting to escape from a straight jacket while blindfolded and submerged in Carol Park Swimming Centre.

QTV This Week features the death-defying stunt being planned by a local teenager...

Man avoids jail following meat cleaver incident

A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.

Court heard he brandished knives and threatened to kill neighbours

Gallery: The price of school formal glamour

Kimberley Brown wearing a formal dress from Von's Gorgeous Gowns with her mum Michelle Brown.

The glitz, glamour and expense of school formals

Local Partners

Workmates honour crash victim with tribute

UPDATE: Tanya Lyell is being remembered as a young mother dedicated to her family and work as the town she called home mourns its loss.

Festival promises lots of fun for the whole family

FUN TIMES: Clintelle Graveson and Shannon Campbell on the dodgems at the Jacaranda Festival in Goodna.

Thousands expected to flock to annual festival

Things to do this weekend

The Goodna Jacaranda Festival returns this weekend.

Here are some ideas for this weekend

Shannon ready to rock festival

BIG STAR: Shannon Noll will be performing live at the festival tonight.

Australian Idol star to headline at festival.

Things to do this weekend

The Goodna Jacaranda Festival returns this weekend.

Here are some ideas for this weekend

Elsa Pataky fell in love with Chris Hemsworth's voice

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky

Spanish model married to Aussie actor since 2010

Greg and Christine find a new (gold) lease on life

Christine and Greg Clark star in the TV series Aussie Gold Hunters.

COUPLE reckons there’s nothing like finding your first gold nugget.

Race facts and stats a winning combination

Impress colleagues with Melbourne Cup trivia

Birdy's voice soars during concert

English singer Birdy proves her skill during a recent concert.

The singer, 20, has acquired mythical status in the music world

Miley Cyrus finally confirms engagement to Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus.

Eccentric singer confirms long-held rumour

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Is Woolworths departure good news for Ipswich CBD?

Artist impression of the Ipswich Mall for the rejuvenation project to be undertaken by Ipswich City Properties

Council is on track to release a detailed plan before December

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!