SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome announces retirement at annual State of the Port address

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Jim Newsome, CEO and president of the South Carolina Ports Authority, announced Monday that he will retire next summer.

Newsome has led the agency since 2009, which handles roughly $75 billion of commerce each year. Barbara Melvin, the port’s CFO, was named his replacement and will start effective July 1, 2022. She has been with the agency for more than 20 years.

The Ports Authority owns and operates several ports around the state, including the Port of Charleston and Georgetown, where cargo ships help connect the Palmetto State to global markets, generating $63 billion in local economic impacts each year.

The organization is considered a top 10 container ports in the nation, and is responsible for one out of every 10 jobs in the state, according to its website.

During his tenure as CEO, Newsome has won several prestigious awards, including earning South Carolina’s Public Servant of the Year from the state Chamber of Commerce in 2014, and helped expand ports around the state.

Newsome said Monday that he has worked nonstop without a break since September 1977 when he earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and was looking forward to the next phase of his life. He will, however, stay on as an executive advisor for the ports authority for the first year after his departure.

But instead of reflecting on his tenure as CEO, Newsome said looked to the future and praised both the board and his soon-to-be successor.

“The ultimate picture of success in an organization or in a business is when the replacement for the outgoing CEO can be found within the organization,” he said. “There is no better qualified person in this industry to run the South Carolina Ports Authority than Barbara Melvin. I can tell you that for a natural fact.”

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