Today, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) announced that its President and CEO Brandy D. Christian, a leading figure in the transportation industry, will step down mid-June 2024 to pursue an opportunity in the private sector. Christian has served as the President and CEO of Port NOLA since January 1, 2017, and as the CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) since its acquisition by Port NOLA on February 1, 2018, during which time Port NOLA increased operating revenues by 70 percent and NOPB increased operating income by 300 percent.

"We cannot overstate the exemplary leadership that Brandy Christian has provided throughout her tenure," said Walter Leger, Jr., Chairman of the Port NOLA Board of Commissioners and the NOPB Commission. "Under Christian's guidance, Port NOLA has navigated through profound challenges and achieved remarkable successes. Chief among those successes is the leadership team that Christian has assembled and nurtured to carry Port NOLA and NOPB forward. Through her vision and leadership, Christian has positioned Port NOLA to regain its place as the premier destination within the global supply chain as we embark on a transformational economic development project in the Louisiana International Terminal. We wish Brandy all the best as she begins this new and exciting challenge."

Brandy Christian joined Port NOLA as its Chief Operating Officer in 2015 and was appointed its President and CEO just two years later. Within six months of taking the reins, Christian led the acquisition of the NOPB by Port NOLA, connecting the rail and maritime supply chains across and beyond the region and positioning Port NOLA as an alternative gateway of choice. In 2018, she led the development of a master plan to align all four lines of business – cargo, cruise, real estate and rail – that provided a strategic roadmap for sustainable and inclusive growth. Christian has also overseen the beginnings of the largest economic development project in Louisiana history, raising nearly all of the funding to support the $1.8B Louisiana International Terminal (LIT), a new container facility in St. Bernard Parish that is set to begin construction in 2025 and will solidify Louisiana’s position as a vital hub for global markets.

"Reflecting on my time as President and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of NOPB, I will be departing with immense gratitude for the dedicated team and supportive community who have made Port NOLA a beacon of innovation and efficiency,” said Brandy D. Christian. “Together, we have navigated challenges and embraced opportunities thoughtfully and strategically, propelling our port and region to new heights. As I step down, I am confident in Port NOLA and NOPB’s continued success under new leadership and look forward to witnessing their ongoing contributions to global trade and prosperity."

Port NOLA also announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ronald Wendel, Jr., will assume acting leadership of Port NOLA and NOPB following Christian’s departure. Wendel, who also joined Port NOLA in 2015, brings a wealth of experience to lead the next phase of growth and innovation.

Wendel spearheaded an improvement in Port NOLA’s bond rating while financing more than $260 million in public and private placement bonds to fund the Capital Investment Program, including the $140 million expansion of the Napoleon Avenue container terminal. Wendel has also been a key figure in securing $800 million in commitments from future private LIT terminal operators Ports America and TIL, and he has been a mainstay in commercial negotiations across Port NOLA and NOPB’s lines of business.