The Irish Examiner understands that Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has made approaches to John Mullins, who retired from the Bord Gáis post on New Year’s Eve.
Mr Mullins, who has since started his own investment and management advisory company, is currently president of Cork Chamber.
It is understood that Mr Varadkar is keen to appoint a high-profile businessman to chair the port authority.
A spokesman said Mr Varadkar “would be bringing a memo before the Government early in the new year seeking the appointment of a particular person” to fill the vacancy.
Mr Varadkar has been criticised for his delay in filling vacancies on the port’s board of directors.
The serving terms of a number of directors of the port ended last June.
Mr Varadkar then extended the chairman’s term for three months, in order to allow him time to appoint new directors.
Just before Christmas, it was announced that Mr Varadkar would be filling four vacancies on the board.
They included former assistant general secretary of the Impact union, Dominic McEvoy; Paul Mulvihill, the son of former Labour Party TD John Mulvihill; Helen Boyle, who runs a successful legal practice at Crosse’s Green; and Brian Cantwell, who is a director of a ship sale and purchasing company.
However, Mr Varadkar did not appoint a chair-person and was criticised by former Port of Cork board member Alan Coleman for his failure to do so.
Mr Varadkar’s spokesman said the minister was aware of the criticism but was anxious to choose a board “which had a wide mix of appropriate skills”.
The spokesman said Mr Varadkar was not keen to rush making the appointment and added that the chairmanship would be going to “a high-profile individual”.
The spokesman refused to divulge the name.
Mr Mullins was unavailable for comment yesterday, The 44-year-old, who was educated at the North Mon and UCC, has a long track record in business.
His first job, in 1989, was as product planning engineer with the ESB. He became a grid control manager in 1995.
From 1998-2000 Mr Mullins worked as a consultant with PriceWaterhouseCooper before moving on to run a power station company in Bilbao, Spain, on behalf of ESB International.
In 2004, he was appointed business development manager for the waste management company Greenstar and, three years later, took over the top job at Bord Gáis.