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LaRue steps down as Port of Corpus Christi director

Charles Zahn announces that Port of Corpus Christi Executive Director John LaRue (left and on projection screen) will step down from that position as of Jan. 1, 2018. As chairman of the Port Commission, Zahn made the announcement during his State of the Port address Dec. 14. Courtesy photo

The head of the Port of Corpus Christi will be stepping down on the first day of the new year. As of Jan. 1, 2018, Executive Director John LaRue will serve as a senior advisor to the current Chief Operation Officer and Deputy Executive Director Sean Strawbridge, who will be taking over as CEO and executive director. Strawbridge was hired in 2015 after a nationwide search to find LaRue’s replacement.

LaRue will remain at the port as advisor until June 2019. The final six months will be spent focusing on port-related issues before the 86th session of the Texas Legislature.

The announcement was made during the State of the Port luncheon Dec. 14 by Charles P. Zahn, Port of Corpus Christi commission chairman.

“As part of the Port of Corpus Christi Authority Commission’s vision for the future, we pause to thank John LaRue for his outstanding leadership and steady hand over the last 23 years,” Zahn said. “We also welcome Sean Strawbridge in his new role as CEO, and, with John LaRue’s example, we have full confidence Sean will take the port to new highs and new frontiers.”

LaRue has been in charge of the port since 1994. Before taking over here, he served as executive director of the Port of Philadelphia for four years. During LaRue’s tenure over the past two decades, the port has grown from a regional port authority to what is now the fourth-largest port in the United States in terms of tonnage.

Under his leadership, the Port of Corpus Christi has become the nation’s leading energy port as well. Sixty percent of the nation’s crude exports now flow through what is known as the Energy Port of the Americas.

“It has been a wonderful experience to lead the Port of Corpus Christi over the last 23 years.” LaRue said. “We’ve seen such fantastic growth over the years, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the condition the port is in today.”

As advisor, LaRue will help transition Strawbridge into his new role. His previous experience includes employment at Oxbow Energy, Ports America Group and the Port of Long Beach, where he served as the managing director of port operations and trade development.

“I am thankful to the board for their confidence in me and truly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside John as he helps guide me in this new responsibility,” Strawbridge said. “I am confident the path we are on is the right one, and I thank John for his continued support as we carry on his legacy.”

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