Matson, Inc. president and chief executive officer Matthew J. Cox will succeed retiring chairman of the board Walter A. Dods, the company announced today.
The appointment becomes effective at the end of the company's annual shareholders’ meeting today, as Dods retires in accordance with the company's corporate governance guidelines limiting board members’ age.
“In my nearly 30 years associated with Matson, I've never felt stronger about its leadership and long-term prospects,” Dods said. “Matt, this company and its board of directors are firmly focused on consistently generating income to support Matson's continued investment in strategic growth and delivering strong shareholder value over time.”
“I am honored by this appointment and will devote myself to fulfilling the board's vision for Matson as a leading carrier of the Pacific,” said Cox, who retains his duties as CEO of Matson, Inc. “Walt has set us on a strong course and positioned the board well to guide Matson's continued growth and development for years to come.”
Additionally, the board of directors designated Jeffrey N. Watanabe to serve as the lead independent director of the Matson board.
Concurrent with his appointment as chairman of the board, Cox announced the promotion of two other senior Matson executives: Ronald J. Forest and John P. Lauer.
Forest, senior vice president, operations, has been promoted to president of Matson with continued responsibility for all of the company's operations, including vessels, terminals, equipment, labor relations, purchasing and engineering as well as overseeing Matson's investment in SSAT, a West Coast stevedoring joint venture with SSA Marine.
Lauer, senior vice president, ocean services, has been promoted to chief commercial officer of Matson with continued responsibility for sales, marketing, customer service, pricing and government services
for Matson's ocean transportation division.
“In light of my new responsibilities as chairman, we are expanding the roles of Ron Forest and John Lauer who are proven leaders and have been integral to managing Matson's growth over the past decade – two decades, in Ron's case,” Cox said.
Cox joined Matson in June 2001 as senior vice president and chief financial officer. He was named executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2005 and president in 2008. He became CEO in June 2012, and has been responsible for overseeing the entire Matson organization, which includes Matson Navigation Company, Inc. (ocean transportation), Matson Logistics, Inc. (logistics) and Matson Terminals, Inc. (terminal operations in Hawaii
Forest's career in the maritime industry began in 1978. He joined Matson in 1995 as operations manager, Southern California and rose through the ranks to become a vice president in 1998. In 2000, he was named president and chief executive officer of Matson Logistics and charged with overseeing the management and growth of Matson's largest subsidiary. In 2002, he returned to Matson as head of the company's operations division, and was promoted to senior vice president in 2003.
Lauer also has more than 30 years' experience in the maritime industry. He joined Matson in 2007 as director, transpacific services, and has had a leadership role in establishing Matson as the premier cargo carrier
in the Pacific. He was named vice president, transpacific services, in 2012 and senior vice president, ocean services in 2015.
Forest and Lauer will continue to report to Cox, whose new title is chairman and chief executive officer.