GPA announces CCO, CFO roles


Post image

SAVANNAH, Ga., June 27, 2024 – Georgia Ports Authority announces the appointments of Flavio Batista as Chief Commercial Officer and Rob Dooley as Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1, 2024.  The appointments reflect a succession plan put in place in 2023 for the June 30, 2024 retirement of Chief Financial Officer Michaela Thompson and for the current Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron to step into a GPA advisor role.

“Cliff and Michaela have been tremendous assets to the Georgia Ports Authority, setting a high standard in  professionalism and world-class customer care for our organization,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “Their years of experience, dedication and customer relationships have provided a wealth of insight to our commercial planning, growth and operations, and made finding the right successors a key to our future success.”

With more than 44 years of experience in liner container shipping, logistics and the port sector, Pyron began leading Georgia Ports’ sales effort in December 2008. Since that time, trade through GPA ports has scored record successes and grown 73 percent with an impressive expansion of landside supply chain business partners that helped fuel this growth and attract investment in site selection by high profile companies and start-ups.

Flavio Batista, joined GPA as vice president of sales and marketing in January 2023 and came to GPA from the ocean carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen Group that provided logistics solutions for manufacturers of cars, trucks, heavy equipment and specialized cargo. At WW, Batista served most recently as senior vice president and head of Americas sales, leading ocean and logistics commercial development and customer relations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin America, based in New Jersey. Prior to that position, he was executive vice president and head of commercial activities for Europe, Africa and the Middle East at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, based in Antwerp, Belgium.

“Flavio’s global experience and his role as a former customer of international ports gives him a deep understanding of the needs of ocean carriers, BCOs, car manufacturers and our integrated supply chain partner ecosystem here in Georgia.  He and Cliff have worked very closely since he joined to ensure a smooth handover for all our customers during this 18-month period,” Lynch added.

“Our goal is to keep our customers and our supply chain partners competitive year-in, year-out with our national gateway ports and make it easy to do business with GPA. We have a long-term view and plan to support our customer growth with the nation’s best port infrastructure, future capacity and $4.5 bn investment planned,” Batista said. He will lead international marketing, business development, and the commercial performance toward beneficial cargo owners (BCOs), ocean carriers, RoRo carriers, auto manufacturers, non-containerized trade, and supply chain partners. 

CFO succession

Michaela Thompson joined Georgia Ports as Director of Finance in March 2011, with ascending leadership roles including Financial Controller and then CFO in January 2022. Her career spans public/private experience in manufacturing, private industry leveraged buyouts (LBOs), bond issues, credit union management, benefit plans administration and enterprise resource planning projects.  Along with her CPA and MBA credentials, Thompson served on the boards of the Georgia Pension Trustees and the Georgia Government Financial Officers Association (GGFOA).   

“I would like to personally thank Michaela for her steady leadership in the Finance Department and the work she has done to maintain GPA’s sterling reputation and AAA financial rating,” Lynch said. “We wish her the best in her retirement and thank her for her succession planning role that ensured a smooth transfer of knowledge to Rob during this eleven-month transition period.”

Rob Dooley joined GPA in August 2023 as Senior Director of Finance bringing extensive experience from the public and private sector working for companies like Northrup Grumman, Integra Connect, and Sontiq, (formerly called EZShield).  

“Rob brings the financial acumen and business sense with customers we need to keep growing and preparing for the future.  His impeccable accounting credentials, focus on service and analyzing financial data to improve operational functions make him a perfect fit for GPA’s future trajectory,” Lynch said.  

“GPA’s port master plan, decision-making, leadership and Board of Directors – who are all successful business leaders from the private and public sector – have created excellent market momentum and I’m excited to  lead the CFO function in this journey,” Dooley said.   

About Georgia Ports

Georgia’s ports and inland terminals support more than 561,000 jobs throughout the state annually, contributing $33 billion in income, $140 billion in revenue and $3.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. GPA anticipates investing $4.5 billion in the next ten years as part of its port master plan to expand cargo handling capabilities to support future supply chain requirements. As part of GPA’s community engagement efforts, $6 million will be donated to communities located near the Port of Savannah to support a multi-year, local workforce housing initiative. CNBC ranked Georgia #1 in the U.S. for infrastructure in America’s Top States for Business in 2023.    Area Development  – a site selection news outlet for the U.S., has ranked Georgia as the Top State to Do Business for ten consecutive years.  For further information, visit or contact Tom Boyd, Chief Communications Officer at [email protected] 912-964-3884.