Steamship Authority Board Interviews Strong Field of Finalists for
CEO Position

Gazette Senior Writer

The key to success for the Steamship Authority, a Coast Guard
admiral said yesterday, is to be clear in its own vision.

"I would set the vision for the organization," said Rear
Adm. George Naccara. "But I also need to know what the board
expects from me - what is your long-term vision?"

The comments came during an interview yesterday morning with Mr.
Naccara, one of five finalists for the job of chief executive officer at
the public boat line.

The other finalists are John O'Brien, the outgoing CEO of the
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce; Jean-Ives Ghazi, a ferry business
entrepreneur; Carolyn Kiley Moore, a marine consultant, and Thaddeus
Jankowski, deputy city manager for the city of Portsmouth, N.H.

At a special meeting held Thursday morning in Woods Hole, the SSA
board of governors began two days of interviews with the candidates for
the CEO spot. Mr. Naccara, Ms. Moore and Mr. Ghazi were interviewed
yesterday. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Jankowski will be interviewed

Wearing the crisp blue and gold uniform of a rear admiral, Mr.
Naccara talked about his background as commander of the Coast Guard
first district, which includes New England, New York and New Jersey. He
has been in the Coast Guard for 33 years.

Ms. Moore's background includes management work for Bay State
Cruises and Fox Navigation. She spoke of her experience in developing
and marketing high-speed ferry programs.

Mr. Ghazi was interviewed too late for the Gazette deadline, but
board members said later that he had an excellent interview.

The governors asked an array of questions on topics ranging from
financial management to consensus building to public relations.

"How do you feel about that camera over there?" Falmouth
financial advisory board member Eric Asendorf asked Mr. Naccara,
pointing to a camera for a local television station.

"I am not troubled by that at all," Mr. Naccara replied

The board could vote on the selection as early as today, but Mr.
Robbins said yesterday he doubted that the vote would take place so
quickly, given the high caliber of the candidates so far. Mr. Robbins
said he was extremely impressed with all three candidates.

"After the interviews today, I think it is fair to say that
this is probably going to take some more deliberation. Unless somebody
floats to the top in the next 24 hours and the choice becomes clear, I
would say that we are likely to take some more time to talk about
this," he said.

The top post at the SSA has been vacant since early September, when
general manager Armand Tiberio left after six years to accept a job in
his native Washington state. He announced his resignation late last
summer, during a turbulent period at the boat line following a failed
eight-month campaign to develop a new service model. That campaign was
led by Mr. Tiberio and J.B. Riggs Parker, the controversial Vineyard
boat line governor who was not reappointed by the Dukes County
Commission in a close vote in early December.

Mr. Parker attended the interviews as a spectator yesterday, sitting
alongside Dukes County commissioners Dan Flynn and Leonard Jason Jr. It
was his first public appearance since the commission voted 4-3 to
replace him with Kathryn A. Roessel.

A formal search has been under way for a new chief executive since
last August, when the boat line board voted to hire Executive Resources
International to lead the search for Mr. Tiberio's replacement.
Acting partly on the recommendation of John Jay - the managing
director of the headhunting firm who has led the search - the
board voted to upgrade the job title from general manager to chief
executive officer. The salary for the position is pegged at about

Mr. Jay said yesterday that the search screening process included
interviews with some 150 people.

At its regular meeting last month, the boat line board went into
executive session to read and discuss the resumes of 10 semifinalists.
The five finalists were announced early this week. On the advice of boat
line general counsel Steven Sayers, the resumes for the finalists will
not be released publicly until the interviews are completed.

The interview session was attended by Mr. Robbins, Ms. Roessel,
Nantucket governor Grace Grossman, Mr. Asendorf and Steve Tornovish, the
financial advisory board member from Nantucket. Robert Murphy, the
Vineyard member of the financial advisory board, did not attend the
interview session.

Mr. Murphy could not be reached for comment, but one press account
yesterday reported that he was unable to attend the sessions because of
a previous commitment. The newspaper story also reported that Mr. Murphy
was highly critical of what he described as a hurried interview process.

Yesterday Mr. Robbins countered any notion that the process was a
rush job.

"I think we are just expediting what has been going on for the
last several months - and I would not even use the word expedited,
really," he said.

Mr. Robbins said the boat line began the search process late in the
summer but was diverted this fall by the swirl of divisive politics
around plans for a pilot high-speed ferry project between New Bedford
and the Vineyard.

New Bedford city officials pulled the plug on the project after Mr.
Parker was not reappointed.

In the last month a new calm has settled over the SSA board as the
members turn their attention back to the business of running the boat

"There has been a great diversion and now are able to focus on
the executive search," Mr. Robbins said. "We've got
great candidates, so there was no reason to delay getting them in here
for interviews."