Brandy D. Christian has been named chief operating officer of the Port of New Orleans.

Christian has been with the Port of San Diego for 14 years, serving the past five as vice president of strategy and business development.

The announcement was made by Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans.

Christian succeeds Patrick J. Gallwey, who will retire March 1 after 34 years with the port. Christian will begin working with Gallwey on Jan. 26 through a transition period.

The port’s board conducted a national search for a COO, LaGrange said.

During her tenure with California’s fourth-largest cargo port, Christian helped secure major accounts for the cruise and cargo business lines at the port. She also was instrumental in improving operational processes and reducing costs for the public agency. She oversaw several departments, including maritime, government and civic relations, and marketing and communications.

“Christian brings a wealth of experience to New Orleans,” LaGrange said. “Her background in strategic initiatives, civic relations, and cruise and cargo development will serve the port well for many years to come.”

Before joining the Port of San Diego, Christian worked with KPMG Consulting, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hilliard Inc. Christian earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. She is a Certified Port Executive and Commercial Investment Manager candidate.

Gallwey has served as chief operating officer for eight years, overseeing day-to-day activities including administering and managing the port’s operating budgets.

He started with the port in 1980 when he established the industrial development department. He served in leadership positions in marketing and business development, planning and engineering, and executive management. He oversaw the planning of the port’s terminal expansion projects beginning in 1990, resulting in the construction of container terminals on the port’s riverfront, planning for the Tchoupitoulas Corridor, downtown riverfront and cruise terminals and various transportation projects.

“Pat’s contributions to the port cannot be overstated,” LaGrange said. “His steadfast leadership and institutional knowledge helped guide the port to record results. He has been a staunch supporter of the entire maritime community and economic development initiatives in the New Orleans area and throughout Louisiana for many years.”