Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson has resigned and will step down at the end of June.
In a statement, Gibson said the sometimes personal attacks on him has been damaging to the company and the great people he works with.
"This has been a difficult decision" he said today. "I love working at Ports of Auckland. It is an organisation full of absolutely wonderful people doing amazing things."
Gibson has been under intense scrutiny in the past few months following a damning report which found systemic problems with health and safety under his watch and ongoing problems with an automation project at the port.
At the release of the report in March prompted by two port workers losing their lives due to accidents on the wharves and a speeding pilot boat accidentally striking and killing an ocean swimmer, Gibson said he would stay in the job as long as the board had confidence in him.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has privately let it be known he had no confidence in Gibson and the Maritime Union called for him to go in March.
Auckland Council is the 100 per cent owner of the port.
"Over the last few months there have been persistent and sometimes personal attacks on me as CEO. I feel that this focus on me is damaging to the company and to the great people that I work with. It is taking our focus off what is really important – delivering change. I can't let that continue, so for the sake of our people and the good work that they do, I have decided to step down.
"As I go, I want to pay tribute to the people of Ports of Auckland. This is a company which is often in the media in a bad way, over port expansion, port location or more recently over safety and congestion. Sadly, there is little media attention on the great things our people have achieved in the last 10 years.
"Our people have transformed the business from one which couldn't afford to invest in necessary infrastructure to one which has earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Aucklanders. They have successfully delivered multiple projects such as the new deep-water container wharf, a new car handling building and three container handling cranes," Gibson said in a statement.
Ports of Auckland Board Chair Bill Osborne said "Tony has been a transformational CEO for Ports of Auckland over the last 10 years. His vision, drive, skills, and leadership have been essential in delivering the change that was desperately needed when he started in 2011.
I am sad to lose someone of his calibre, especially at a time when the company is again going through major change. However, I understand and accept his reasons and wish him well."
Deputy CEO and CFO Wayne Thompson will be Interim CEO until a new CEO is appointed.