First reported by the Irish Examiner on Jan 4, his appointed was signed off by the Cabinet yesterday.
Mr Mullins, who retired as group chief executive of Bord Gáis on New Year’s Eve, said he was looking forward to an exciting five-year term.
“The port is one of the key economic drivers in the region, and plays a major role in attracting foreign direct investment, and it’s important that we stay ahead of the curve in that regard,” he said.
The chairman-designate will formally take up his position after his appearance before the Oireachtas transport committee, which is expected within a matter of weeks.
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, he took over the top job at Bord Gáis.
Since his retirement from the gas company he has started his own investment and management advisory company, Augmentis.
A spokesman for Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he was delighted Mr Mullins had agreed to take up the role.
He said the minister was keen to appoint a high-profile businessman to chair the port authority. Mr Mullins has just stepped down as president of Cork Chamber.
He is taking over a port which reported a 2% increase in container traffic last year compared to 2011 figures, driven by a significant rise in imports, particularly animal feed products.
It was the first time the port’s traffic figures surpassed the 9m-tonne mark since 2008. The port is due to welcome 64 cruise vessels this year.
However, he will face a major challenge overseeing the port’s expansion.
The Port of Cork is set to lodge its revised planning application for its long-term relocation and expansion this summer.