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Governance overhaul succeeds as members steer the process

American Association of Port Authorities reduced number of board seats to make volunteer leadership more efficient and prestigious


Nov. 20, 2020
By Walt Williams

When Christopher Connor joined the American Association of Port Authorities as CEO in 2019, he knew he was walking into an organization whose governance structure left a lot to be desired.

“One of the first things I realized was there was a 45-person board of directors,” Connor told CEO Update. That structure “was not designed for success because it’s just impossible to relate to that many people.”

AAPA soon afterward began a governance overhaul that resulted in whittling its board down to 11 members and getting rid of duplicate entities, such as a 12-member executive committee. And the key to getting member buy-in was having members drive the process.

“They all realized this was really awkward. It’s clumsy. We’re not very efficient, and interest (in the association) was waning,” Connor said.