Craig Doyle is the new chief executive officer at Gladstone Ports Corporation. He will start in September.
Craig Doyle is the new chief executive officer at Gladstone Ports Corporation. He will start in September. Contributed

New ports chief comes with no political affiliations

THE new chief executive of Gladstone Ports Corporation comes with added sugar - and no political affiliations, he claims.

Craig Doyle is currently the executive general manager of Wilmar Australia, Australia's largest sugar milling company, based in Townsville.

He will take over from GPC's current chief Leo Zussino on September 16, chairman Mark Brodie announced yesterday.

The GPC board controversially chose not to renew Mr Zussino's contract in February, and has been interviewing for replacements since then.

Mr Doyle said he had 30 years experience in the sugar industry, which included shipping with Queensland Sugar Ltd, and cooperating with the GPC-owned Port of Bundaberg.

He said he recognised the arrival in Gladstone came at a crucial time for the port.

"My understanding is the current CEO and management at GPC have done a good job, the business is in very good shape, and there's a very exciting future as the port goes through a growth phase," Mr Doyle said.

But he admitted he was yet to get across headline issues, such as the impact of dredging on the Great Barrier Reef, and said the next seven weeks would be spent getting up to speed.

Mr Zussino will continue working with GPC for a handover period after Mr Doyle's arrival. Mr Doyle, who is married with four children, also distanced himself from the party politics that had coloured recent port leadership, insisting he had no party-political affiliations.

"Working with dominant companies in the sugar industry, we are a major employer in a lot of northern Queensland towns, so we have affiliations with the rural side of government, both at a state and federal level," he said.

"Our involvement has been mainly around future policy in agricultural issues."

Mr Zussino's termination followed the sacking of former GPC chairman Ian Brusasco, following the election of the LNP State Government.

Both men have well-known Labor connections.

As well as sugar, Wilmar produces renewable energy via biomass cogeneration, and has a revenue of $1.3billion a year.

Mr Brodie said the new chief also had extensive experience in manufacturing and logistics.

"He has a proven track record and reputation for achieving high levels of performance and results, and I am certain that Craig's wealth of experience, leadership style and energy will be of enormous benefit to GPC as we enter a new period of exponential growth," Mr Brodie said.

He also paid tribute to Mr Zussino for his dedicated service to GPC.

Earlier this week, Mr Zussino gave an upbeat CEO's stakeholder presentation to more than 60 industry and community representatives.

He said that as far as the Port of Gladstone was concerned, "I can assure you the resources boom is not going to end for decades yet."

He flagged that coal exports would jump from 60 million tonnes a year to 90 million in the next five years.

In 20 to 25 years, the figure is set to double. Mr Doyle will initially move to Gladstone by himself while his youngest daughter finishes high school next year. His wife will join him in town after that. And Mr Doyle said he was happy to match Mr Zussino's efforts as the very public face of the Port of Gladstone.

"I'll do whatever's needed. In my current role I do a lot of that as required - I'm not a media star at the end of the day - it's about being accountable to the community," he said.

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