Gary LaGrangeLongtime Port of New Orleans president and CEO Gary LaGrange is retiring at the end of April, and will be succeeded by Brandy D. Christian, the port’s chief operating officer, the port Board of Commissioners announced.

LaGrange’s 15-year tenure was marked by more than $500 million in infrastructure investments, including new container, intermodal, refrigerated and cruise terminals. Those boosted port revenues to record highs for a fourth consecutive year in 2015.

The port saw more than 1 million passengers pass through its growing cruise ship traffic for the second year in a row during 2015, and container traffic surpassed 500,000 TEUs for the first time.

LaGrange also guided the port through its recovery from hurricane Katrina in 2005. "Gary LaGrange led the Port of New Orleans to great heights over the past 15 years as President and CEO," said William Bergeron, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. "The Board is grateful for the many contributions he made to the Port and to the maritime industry during his distinguished career in New Orleans.”

Bergeron will negotiate a contract with Christian to become president and CEO. Christian came to New Orleans in January 2015 after 1404.28.16 BrandyChristian PortofNOLABrandy Christian years with the Port of San Diego, where she served for five years as vice president of strategy and business development. Christian was credited with bringing in major cruise and cargo business lines to San Diego, and improving the port’s operational processes while reducing costs.

“Brandy Christian’s background in strategic initiatives, civic relations, and cruise and cargo development will serve the Port well for many years to come.” Bergeron said. LaGrange called his successor “the right person to continue our momentum and lead the Port of New Orleans to the next level of success.”