March 1, 2021

Hancock County, MS (March 1, 2021) — The Hancock County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously March 1 to approve the Port and Harbor Commission’s resolution naming Bill Cotter as CEO.

Cotter had been serving as interim chief executive officer since August 2020 when the former CEO took a position with the Mississippi Development Authority. The Commissioners hired The Next Move Group to conduct a nationwide search for qualified candidates, and after an extensive background and interview process, the Commissioners voted unanimously for Cotter.

Derek Necaise, president of the Port and Harbor Commission, said there were 38 applicants for the CEO position. “After a grueling interview process, which consisted of numerous Zoom and in-person interviews, the commissioners voted and determined that Bill Cotter was best qualified to lead the Commission. We congratulate him on his appointment, and we look forward to working with him to bring new business and development to Hancock County.”

Scotty Adam, president of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, said the search process was rigorous and the Commission’s selection of Cotter was “a good decision” based on his extensive experience. Adam also noted the professionalism Cotter showed as interim CEO.  “He handled himself very well throughout this process. We look forward to working with Mr. Cotter and helping him any way we can to continue to grow Hancock County.”

Before being named interim CEO, Cotter was the HCPHC Chief Operating Officer as well as the Airport Director at Stennis International where he managed more than $70 million in federal and state grants and implemented an additional $40 million in FEMA, bonds and internally funded projects at the airport. 

Cotter is an American Association of Airport Executives Certified Manager and an active pilot who sits on the boards of the Mississippi Airport Association and the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. He earned degrees in both Airport Management and Business Administration. Last year he was named the Mississippi Airports Association Professional of the Year.



The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit