CHIEF financial officer at Port of Tauranga Steve Gray, who will retire in June next year, has held the position for the past 12 years and been with the company for 32 years.

The port’s CEO Mark Cairns, said Mr Gray has been instrumental in the Company’s success and he will be greatly missed.

“In Steve’s time as CFO, he has overseen outstanding returns for our shareholders. He led the team that negotiated the long-term freight agreement with Kotahi that enabled Port of Tauranga to become big ship capable and New Zealand’s largest port,” Mr Cairns said.

“He is greatly respected by the market and I am personally very grateful for his wisdom, sound judgement and great company.”

Mr Gray was named CFO of the Year in the 2017 Deloitte Top 200 Business Awards. He will continue in governance roles on Port of Tauranga’s Associate Companies including PrimePort Timaru and Coda Group.

Recruitment for a new CFO will begin immediately.

Port of Tauranga also announced the appointment of Leonard Sampson to the newly-created position of chief operating officer, reporting to the CEO.

Mr Sampson has been the port’s commercial manager since 2013, when he joined the company after senior roles at KiwiRail, Carter Holt Harvey and Mainfreight.