Thursday, August 30, 2012
Port of Seattle CEO pressured to drop board appointment
Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani has been asked by members of the port commission to choose between his board membership at Expeditors International or resign from his $367,000-a-year port job.
When Gael Tarleton, the president of the Port Commission, asked Yoshitani to step down from the Expeditors’ board, Yoshitani reportedly said he intended to keep both jobs.
Commissioner Rob Holland said he had a meeting Tuesday with Yoshitani, reiterating that he'd have to choose due to the perceived conflict of interest of a port CEO also working for a global logistics company.
Commissioner Tom Albro disagreed, stating this week in a letter to 13 legislators that “Yoshitani's dual role had been vetted by the Port's top lawyer, who did not find any impermissible conflict of interest.” The legislators had asked the board to look for any issues of conflict of interest that could attach to Yoshitani’s role with Expeditors.
Expeditors pays its board of directors a $30,000-a-year retainer, $1,000 each day they attend board meetings or do other company work, and gives them $200,000 in restricted stock each year, reports the Seattle Times.
Yoshitani's employment agreement permits him to serve on the board of a company as long as he does it on his own time and the port's general counsel sanctions it as not being a “conflict of interest.”
Tarleton, who voted against the agreement, said in a statement "in addition to the indefensible compensation issues, the appearance of conflict of interest doesn't sit well with me." She said she has received more than 1,000 emails from people concerned about the Expeditors board post, and that since Yoshitani’s salary is one of the highest in the nation for a port executive, he should serve the public first.
Tarleton is reportedly setting up a meeting for next week for the commissioners to discuss their options.
For more of the Seattle Times story: seattletimes.com
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