Ports Corp tight-lipped on CEO saga

UPDATE 1:20PM: GLADSTONE Ports Corporation has refused to comment about the dismissal of chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan.

Earlier today, The Observer asked the corporation questions in relation to the circumstances surrounding the move and if the Queensland Government had a say in the matter.

GPC did not respond to any questions and said it would not comment further on the matter.

The company published a brief statement on its website about Mr O'Sullivan's dismissal this morning. 

UPDATE 11.00AM: THE search is on for Peter O'Sullivan's replacement after the Gladstone Ports Corporation board dismissed the chief executive officer over questions about his conduct.

The now-former CEO was suspended on full pay on December 13.

The Courier-Mail said last night workers were told via an internal memo that Mr O'Sullivan had since been dismissed.

Mr O'Sullivan was appointed as CEO in July 2016.

His duties included directing and controlling business activities, leading GPC in meeting short and long-term objectives and being responsible for the management and organisational structure of the corporation.

Mr O'Sullivan spoke openly about the potential opportunities within GPC to export hydrogen in the future.

Speaking to The Observer of a trip to the company's biggest international customers in Japan, India and China in December 2017, Mr O'Sullivan said there were discussions on coal, hydrogen and growth in renewable energy.

"In 20 years' time Gladstone might be exporting hydrogen to Japan," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Gladstone Ports Corpoation CEO Peter O'Sullivan speaks to media about the discovery of elevated levels of PFAS in Gladstone's port.
Gladstone Ports Corpoation CEO Peter O'Sullivan speaks to media about the discovery of elevated levels of PFAS in Gladstone's port. Matt Taylor GLA070618PFAS

"We discussed being a partner with Japan, and other countries, it's very early days but from our perspective it's good to find out their interest in hydrogen as a future fuel," he said.

In the 2017-18 financial year, Mr O'Sullivan pocketed $533,000 in salary and $498,000 the year before.

Prior to his appointment, he had 14 years of experience with Gladstone Ports Corporation in community relations, human resources and major projects.

In 2009 Mr O'Sullivan was Labor's candidate for Gladstone in the Queensland Election.

He was unsuccessful in his attempt to unseat independent MP Liz Cunningham.

Mr O'Sullivan also worked as a project leader for the Western Basin Dredge and Disposal Project between 2010-2011, before working with PRM Consulting as a project director.

EARLIER: THE BOARD of Gladstone Ports Corporation have dismissed chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan.

A media statement issued by the Corporation said Mr O'Sullivan had been under investigation since last year due to concerns raised about conduct.

Mr O'Sullivan was suspended on full pay since December 13.

GPC have announced Craig Walker will continue to serve as CEO in an acting position.

The timing of this decision comes a week after The Courier-Mail revealed the suspension of a GPC contractor working at the port, after asking former opposition leader Bill Shorten about tax cuts during the federal election campaign.