Port Authority execs flee for private sector

Top officials jump ship as agency struggles with wage freezes, cutbacks
September 23, 2013 10:01AM

The recent move of a top Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official to developer Related Companies is just the latest of a series of high-profile defections from the city agency. Philippe Visser, who headed leasing at the Port Authority’s World Trade Center site for the last two years, announced last week that he was jumping ship to help oversee Related’s $18 billion, 26-acre Hudson Yards project. Visser joins a number of other top Port Authority executives who have moved on to more lucrative private sector gigs, and the rate of defections has risen in recent months.

In May, Susan Baer, the Port Authority’s director of aviation, announced that she is taking a job as global aviation planning leader at engineering firm ARUP. Baer’s role at Port Authority has yet to be filled, a gap that a former official told Crain’s was unusually long for “one of the most important jobs at the agency.”

“There’s always turnover at the agency, and I had a long career there, and for me it was time to do something else,” Baer told Crain’s. But she did note that a four-year wage freeze and recent cutbacks in compensation and perks had had an impact on the Port Authority, which is headed by Patrick Foye.

Other top vacancies at the agency include those of chief operating officer, chief of capital planning and director of technology. [Crain’s]  – Hiten Samtani