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Originally published Friday, August 10, 2012 at 12:50 PM

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Port chief Yoshitani named to Expeditors board

Tay Yoshitani, who makes nearly $367,000 a year as the Port of Seattle's chief executive, has a new and lucrative side gig as a director at Expeditors International.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Tay Yoshitani, who makes nearly $367,000 a year as the Port of Seattle's chief executive, has a new and lucrative side gig.

Yoshitani this week joined the board of Expeditors International, a global logistics company headquartered in Seattle, a post with annual compensation worth more than $230,000. Expeditors disclosed the move late Thursday.

As an independent director, Yoshitani will be paid a $30,000 cash retainer annually plus $1,000 each day he attends board meetings or performs operational reviews, according to the director-compensation policy in Expeditors' most recent proxy statement. He also is entitled to receive $200,000 in Expeditors restricted stock each year.

Yoshitani, who has led the Port since March 2007, received the equivalent of a 9 percent base-pay increase last year as part of his current employment agreement, which runs through June 2014.

That agreement specifically allows Yoshitani to serve on the board of a company or other private entity, as long as he does so on his own time and the port's general counsel determines that the board membership "would not create or appear to create a conflict of interest, or is contrary to any other provision of the Port's Code of Ethics for [e]mployees."

Port spokeswoman Charla Skaggs said "the Port and Expeditors both vetted conflict-of-interest issues" before Yoshitani took the position.

John Creighton, one of two Port commissioners who voted against Yoshitani's raise last year, said via email Friday that he was "supportive" of Yoshitani's deal with Expeditors, as long as it doesn't conflict with his Port responsibilities and he uses vacation days to attend board meetings.

"I think Tay serving on the board of a major freight forwarder will give him insight that will be helpful to the Port of Seattle in remaining ahead of the curve in terms of our worldwide competitive position," Creighton said.

Yoshitani is one of the best-paid port executives in the nation. The executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, for instance, made $307,000 last year. The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey made about $290,000. John Wolfe, Yoshitani's counterpart at the Port of Tacoma, makes $220,000.

Expeditors offers a range of services to help customers organize cargo shipments worldwide — from choosing routes and carriers to brokering cargo space on ships and planes and helping the shipments clear customs. The company doesn't do business directly with airports or seaports.

Expeditors' nine directors serve one-year terms, so Yoshitani will have to stand for election by the company's shareholders at its next annual meeting, likely around May 2013. He will serve on the board's compensation, nominating and corporate governance, and audit committees.

"Tay brings a wealth of experience and a distinctive set of talents and qualifications that will be of immediate benefit to Expeditors and to our shareholders," Peter Rose, Expeditors' chairman and chief executive, said in a written statement. "He adds a perspective on international trade to our board that is as unique as it is relevant."

Among Yoshitani's new colleagues on Expeditors' board is former UW President Mark Emmert. Emmert joined the board in May 2008, 2 ½ years before he left the UW to take the top job with the NCAA.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com

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