Lincoln Tunnel

John Degnan Elected Chairman of The Port Authority

The Port Authority announces that former New Jersey Attorney General John Degnan was elected the 19th Chairman of the agency’s Board of Commissioners.

Chairman Degnan was nominated by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate on July 10.  Prior to his current role, Chairman Degnan served as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of The Chubb Corporation, a worldwide property and casualty insurance company based in New Jersey.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “John understands the importance of transparency to the policy-making process and the need for the Port Authority to be responsive, effective and consistent.  John is well suited to the task of ensuring the economic competitiveness of the Port region and providing the independence and leadership to pursue bi-state, bipartisan reforms. This is an opportunity to develop and implement a clear strategy for the Port Authority to ensure it is focused on meeting its mission and doing so responsibly, efficiently, and with the trust of the public it serves.”

“The Port Authority and its Board of Commissioners play a pivotal role in driving economic activity throughout the region. It is imperative that moving forward all agency action be open and transparent to allow for sufficient expert and public review.  I look forward to building upon the agency’s many successes as we deliver on the Port Authority’s mission of meeting our region’s transportation needs cost effectively and efficiently,”  said Chairman Degnan.

“John Degnan brings a wealth of public and private sector experience to the Port Authority Board and I welcome him as Chairman as we begin a new era at the Port Authority,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler.  “I look forward to working with him as we move forward in addressing a broad range of agency priorities, including improvements to our transportation infrastructure, addressing the economic needs of the region and reforming this critical bistate organization.”

“Chairman Degnan will add great expertise and a wealth of private-sector experience to the Port Authority Board, as well as a proven commitment to serving the public,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “Chairman Degnan’s rare combination of broad business experience, dedication to public service and deep understanding of the Port Authority’s unique role and mission makes him the right person for this position at  the right time.”

“Chairman Degnan understands the challenges the Port Authority faces,” said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni. “I am confident that under his leadership, the agency will maximize its potential economic value to the region and create jobs for the people of New York and New Jersey.”

About Chairman John Degnan

Chairman Degnan was born on October 6, 1944 in West Orange, NJ. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Grammar School in West Orange, St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, and St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA, where he was graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1966.  After college, Degnan attended Harvard Law School, where he received his degree in 1969.

From 1969 to 1971, he served as law secretary to Associate Justice John J. Francis of the state Supreme Court.  He was associated with the Newark law firm of Clapp and Eisenberg from 1971 to 1974. Degnan joined the administration of Governor Brendan Byrne as assistant counsel on November 4, 1974. He served as an executive secretary to the Governor from March 1976 through March 1977, when he became special counsel to the Governor.

Governor Byrne announced his appointment as Attorney General on December 20, 1977. At 33, Degnan was one of the youngest men ever chosen to serve in the position. His tenure was marked by the opening of the New Jersey State Police to women, a controversial action at the time, and by the deregulation of the liquor industry.  In 1981, he resigned his post as Attorney General to run in the Democratic primary for Governor, finishing with 11 percent of the vote in a crowded political race.

After the election, Degnan joined the firm of Shanley & Fisher as a senior partner. He spent the next two decades at The Chubb Corporation, a Warren, NJ-based insurer of businesses and luxury homes.  In 1990, he joined Chubb & Son, a subsidiary of Chubb Corp., as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. He was elected President of Chubb Corp. in 1996 and became President of Chubb & Son in 1998.

In 2002, he became Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of Chubb Corp. and added the titles of chief ethics and legal compliance officer in 2005. In June 2008, Degnan was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Chubb Corp. Having steered Chubb through a financial crisis, he retired as Vice Chairman and COO in 2010 and remains an adviser to the Chief Executive Officer John Finnegan.

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