The Port of San Antonio board met in executive session Wednesday night to select an interim CEO.
Executive Vice President of Business Development Jim Perschbach was chosen as interim head because of his vision for the PSA, said board chair Victoria Garcia.
The board accepted the resignation of chief executive Roland Mower Friday. He had reportedly been pressured out over concerns he wasn’t doing enough to promote the port. The resignation left 100 employees leaderless in the redevelopment of the 1,900-acre campus that was once Kelly Air Field, and now impacts San Antonio’s economy to the tune of $5 billion, according to the state comptroller.
After six hours of deliberation and interviews with candidates, the board emerged with jokes of papal conclaves.
“The goal is ensure that Port San Antonio is not only a thought leader but also an economic generator, a catalyst for San Antonio,” she said.
Pershbach has been the PSA’s go-to guy to communicate the vision of the organization's future to journalists for the past three and a half years. Board members cited his vision for the port as the reason for giving him the job.
“I want San Antonio to be the place where technologies are being applied to a couple of key mature industries: aviation, energy, healthcare,” Perschbach said.
Pershbach said the PSA has to increase its visibility outside of San Antonio but also must better collaborate with the city’s medical center and downtown tech district.
“I think we’re gonna surprise some people. We’ve got these major major companies, major major buyers of technology,” he said “I think there are people in this community who are out there with great products and great services who aren’t taking advantage of the market that we have down here.”
Each of the nine members of the PSA’s executive leadership team were interviewed for the position, regardless of their interest, said board member T.J. Mayes, who is also the Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff’s chief of staff.
“I thought it was really helpful to those of us who are trying to determine what the future of the port will be,” he said.
The PSA’s board outlined a plan in late 2015 to create 5,000 jobs by 2020. At last year’s state of the port address, then-CEO Mower said they had only created 1,000 of those jobs after two years. He disagreed with the characterization that they were behind schedule.
“The way these things work is it goes really slow and then it picks up,” he said “At the end of 2020, we’ll have the jobs we promised.”
Many members of the board expressed confidence in creating those jobs.
Pershbach’s performance as interim CEO will be evaluated at a date to be determined later.