Ports of Auckland, which has turned in another disappointing annual result for Auckland ratepayer shareholders, paid chief executive Tony Gibson around $1 million when he quit in June.
The Auckland Council-owned port's annual report shows an unnamed top earning executive was paid between $1.78m and $1.79m in the year to June 30.
In FY2020 he was paid $820,000.
The annual report offers no explanation for the payment, but shows the recipient resigned.
While the port reported net profit for the year to June 30 increased $22.6 million to $45.6m, this included a $27.6m revaluation of investment property in the Auckland and Waikato real estate value boom.
Underlying profit for the year fell to $20.7m from $30m in FY2020, attributed to the impact of Covid response, the absence of cruise ships and capacity challenges through the container terminal.
Revenue fell to $226.3m from $231.4m the previous year.
The company will pay owner Auckland Council a dividend of $3.72m, in line with guidance.
A tumultuous year included a workplace death, a damning independent health and safety report commissioned by the council, Gibson's resignation, and continuing issues with implementation of the port's five year long container automation project.
A spokesperson for the office of Mayor Phil Goff said the results was "disappointing but not unexpected".
"Like all businesses, (the port) has had a challenging 12 months. Covid-19 has caused severe disruption for ports around the world and has also caused ongoing delays in the rollout of (the port's) automation project. Other challenges including the absence of cruise ships have created further downside pressure.
"While Auckland Council acknowledges the external pressures facing (the port) remain significant, as sole shareholder, council expects the port company to complete automation and start to build back its financial position as quickly as possible, alongside the full suite of recommendations contained in the independent health and safety report, which is progressing well."
Container volumes at New Zealand's main imports gateway fell to 818,238 TEUs (twenty foot equivalents) compared to 880,781 in FY20.
Car and light commercial vehicles were up at 236,260 units compared with 216,356.
Total bulk and breakbulk cargoes, including vehicles, rose to 6.67m tonnes compared to 5.8m for FY2020.
Interim chief executive Wayne Thompson said profitability was disappointing "but given the year we had it's sort of an okay result".
Thompson told the Herald he had not applied for the permanent job of CEO, having been at the port for 17 years and now in his early 60s.
A search for Gibson's replacement is under way, and new directors are being appointed in a board refresh largely driven by the council. Thompson believed the hope was a new CEO would be appointed by the end of the year.
He said there were bright spots in the port's performance.
"Since I've been involved we've said we want to concentrate on core business and safety....I think we have moved the direction of the ship a little, there are some good signs."
The port had five objectives he said.
These were to deal with safety issues and those raised by the independent report; deliver automation; get back on top of the container business; ensure the rest of the business continues to do well and "make sure we get long term profitability".
"We're doing well through the safety initiative...we have really good engagement with our workforce. We're pushing hard on that safety culture and getting runs on the board."
In the company's 2021 annual report, Thompson writes that the focus for the new financial year "is very much on steadying the ship".
More than 95 per cent of the company's 208 stevedores were vaccinated.