Dublin Port Company's long-standing chief executive Enda Connellan signalled yesterday he was stepping down to allow someone new to man the rudder.
Mr Connellan, who has headed up the port operator for the past 16 years, has agreed to stay on for a short-term period while the state-owned company appoints a successor.
He said: "Dublin Port Company is in a strong financial position and it is now an appropriate time for me to retire to allow a new person to take the helm to drive the company forward and deal with the significant challenges ahead."
The downturn in the Irish economy has seen tonnage of goods flowing through Dublin Port tumble 16pc for the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2008.
Still, the group managed to increase its operating profits by 25pc to €27m on the year even as revenues remained flat at €70.6m as it kept a tight control of costs.
Mr Connellan, who restored the group to profitability during his tenure, has been pushing for some time to expand Dublin Port to allow large freight ships to dock -- warning that if bigger ships were not accommodated, the costs of importing goods would rise.
Dublin Port wants to reclaim 53 acres from the sea to build a new €150m freight terminal -- to make sure it is viable into the future.
The company is also in negotiations regarding two potential joint ventures in India and Indonesia.
Chairman Brian Kerr said that Mr Connellan had "played a pivotal role in the port's development as a world-class port. It has been transformed under his leadership".
"He leaves the company in excellent shape for the future."