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Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s post-port-strike quest: replace Robin

CFO Victor Pang appointed interim president and CEO while VFPA board of directors embarks on search for Robin Silvester’s replacement
Freighter taking on grain at a Port of Vancouver terminal | Chung Chow

Alongside the task of cleaning up the supply chain mess that will be left in the wake of B.C.’s 2023 port strike, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) will need to attend to another pressing priority: replacing Robin.

And that search for a new president and CEO to replace Robin Silvester could take some time, because guiding the fortunes of a major international port is a complex and demanding job. In the Port of Vancouver’s case, it involves overseeing an operation that annually generates close to $12 billion in GDP and $7 billion in wages while interacting with the 16 municipalities that border the port.

As Chris Hall pointed out to BIV, a Canada Port Authority boss “has got multiple masters. Just being able to strike the right balance between all the users in the community and still fulfil your mandate under the Canada Marine Act and to facilitate trade. It’s a tough combination.”

The Shipping Federation of Canada president added that port authorities must secure and maintain social licence with all the communities that surround ports to ensure they grow and prosper together. And that, Hall said, demands a unique combination of leadership skills, perseverance and patience.

Silvester announced earlier this year that he was stepping down from his role after more than 14 years at VFPA’s helm.

His announcement came soon after the port authority won federal government approval for its controversial $3.5 billion Terminal 2 container cargo expansion project at Roberts Bank.

That approval had taken the better part of a decade to secure.

Silvester said in a press release that it was “time for a new challenge for me, and to make space for a new leader at the port authority after the recent federal environmental assessment approval of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, the most significant strategic priority of the last decade.”

Silvester’s last day as VFPA CEO was June 30.

Alex Munro, VFPA senior communications adviser, said the port authority’s board of directors will now lead a “comprehensive search” for a new port authority leader and make the final decision on a new president and CEO.

VFPA CFO Victor Pang

He added that, because that selection process could take a significant amount of time, Victor Pang, the VFPA’s chief financial officer, has been appointed as interim president and CEO.

Silvester’s annual salary in 2022 was $725,000; his total 2022 compensation was $1.7 million.

Pang’s salary was $419,000; his total compensation package was $851,000.

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