Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak executives’

Amtrak Appoints Vice President for Safety

January 11, 2018

Amtrak has appointed a former airline safety officer to the post of executive vice president and chief safety officer.

Ken Hylander retired as a senior vice president for Delta Air Lines in 2014. In a news release, Amtrak said that Hylander oversaw the safety system implementation at Delta and managed the occupational, operating safety, security, quality, and environmental compliance programs.

He also worked at Northwest Airlines as chief safety officer and currently serves on the board of governors of the Flight Safety Foundation and is an independent member of the board of directors of Monroe Energy in Trainer, Pennsylvania.

Before joining Northwest in 1997 as the vice president of quality reliability and engineering, Hylander spent nearly 17 years at United Airlines where he held a variety of engineering, quality assurance, and operations management positions.

Hylander will report directly to Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson.

Amtrak described Hylander’s mandate at the rail passenger carrier as being responsible for implementing a proven safety management system.

“We are improving safety at Amtrak. Keeping our customers and employees safe is our most important responsibility and a high-quality safety management system is a requirement for Amtrak,” Anderson said in a statement. “Ken is a recognized leader in the implementation and operation of [safety management systems], and his experience will be instrumental in helping build our safety culture.”

In its news release, Amtrak described a safety management system as a proactive risk management system that builds on predictive safety management methods.

Amtrak noted that the National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that Amtrak create a safety management system.

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Moorman to Step Down at Amtrak on Dec. 31

December 15, 2017

Amtrak co-CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman is about at the end of the line as the head of the rail passenger carrier.

Moorman

Moorman, who came on board as CEO in September 2016 after a long career at Norfolk Southern that included serving as the company’s CEO, will leave Amtrak on Dec. 31. He plans to continue to serve the carrier as a senior adviser.

When he agreed to take the Amtrak job, Moorman made it clear he would only serve as a transitional CEO and assist the process of finding his replacement.

That led the Amtrak board of directors last June to hire Richard Anderson, a former Delta Air Lines CEO. Anderson and Moorman have held the co-CEO titles since then.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at Amtrak, and firmly believe that the company is well-positioned for the future,” Moorman said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my work with Richard and the entire Amtrak team to further advance passenger rail in this country.”

When Moorman was hired, he was assigned the responsibility of focusing on improving operations, streamlining Amtrak’s organizational structure, and finding his successor.

Moorman has had his share of challenges, including an emergency program to rebuild track at New York Penn Station and improving the company’s safety culture.

The latter was described as “broken” by a National Transportation Safety Board report on an accident that left two Amtrak maintenance workers dead when they were struck by a train at Chester, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak has also shown concepts for high-speed equipment slated to replace Acela train sets in the Northeast Corridor and put into service new locomotives built by Siemens.

“The board is grateful for Wick’s significant contributions since he joined the company, and we are pleased that he is continuing to serve as a senior adviser,” said Tony Coscia, chairman of the Amtrak board.

Amtrak Restructures Vice Presidents

December 14, 2017

Amtrak announced this week the restructuring of its vice presidents, including the hiring of two new VPs and the reassignment of job responsibilities of some executives already with the company.

Robin McDonough has been appointed vice president, human resources. Byl Herrmann, who had been serving in this role for the past year, will return to the law department as vice president, senior managing deputy general counsel.

McDonough will continue the transformation of the human resources department begun by Hermann earlier this year.

Jeanne Cantu has been promoted to assistant vice president, network support, succeeding McDonough. Cantu will be moving from the finance group, where she had already been working closely with operations through her role as senior director, business planning and controls.

Caroline Decker has been appointed vice president, Northeast Corridor service line. She succeeds Mark Yachmetz, who remains with the group as vice president, Acela 2021 Program, where he will be focused on delivering the next-generation of Acela service, including the new high-speed train sets.

In her previous role as vice president of government affairs and corporate communications, Decker led Amtrak’s efforts in Congress to secure annual federal funding while providing strategic leadership on corporate messaging.

In her new role, Decker will focus on increasing customer satisfaction and driving net revenues through innovation for the company’s flagship products and prepare for future growth across the NEC.

Bob Dorsch has been promoted to vice president, long distance service line. He succeeds Mark Murphy, who will be retiring after 40 years at Amtrak. Dorsch previously served as vice president, product support and management within the marketing and business development group.

In his new role, Dorsch will be responsible for leading efforts to modernize and improve the carrier’s products, deliver these services more efficiently and at a lower cost, while also providing a higher level of customer satisfaction.

Peter Wilander is joining Amtrak on Jan. 4 as vice president, product development and customer experience. He comes to Amtrak from Gate Group, a global provider of products, services and solutions for the aviation industry, where he served as chief commercial officer.

Wilander has more than 35 years of airline industry experience, having previously held the role of managing director on-board services for Delta Air Lines, where he was responsible for the worldwide catering operation, food and beverage design and implementation, on-board retail programs, and crew service delivery procedures.

In his new role, he will establish Amtrak’s customer service standards.

Dennis Newman joined Amtrak on Dec. 4 as vice president, schedule and consist planning. Newman will be responsible for the execution of Amtrak’s network strategy through schedule planning and capacity management of trains in the Northeast Corridor, state supported, and long distance services, and ensuring that route capacity is managed to optimize load factor and revenue, and stays responsive to market conditions and demand.

He was most recently vice president, sales, at Dish Network. Prior to that, he was vice president, network planning at Delta Air Lines.

Amtrak Names New Chief Information Officer

November 3, 2017

Christian Zacariassen has been named the chief information officer for Amtrak.

In that position he will be responsible for all information technology business systems, including strategy, technology investment portfolio governance, systems development, infrastructure, IT operations and information security.

Since joining Amtrak in 2013, Zacariassen  has served as associate vice president for product, portfolio and customer management, and also as chief of infrastructure services.

Before joining Amtrak, Zacariassen was vice president of information technology for Life Technologies and served as a sergeant in the Norwegian Army.

Amtrak Names Griffin to Marketing Post

October 17, 2017

Amtrak has reached into the airline industry for another executive hire.

Griffin

It has named J. Timothy “Tim” Griffin as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, responsible for marketing, passenger experience, Northeast Corridor business development, state supported services business development, long distance services business development, and product support and management.

Griffin held marketing positions at Continental and Northwest Airlines, rising to the post of executive vice president of marketing at Northwest Airlines in 1999.

He has also directed client services at Brierley and Partners, providing loyalty marketing for Hilton, Neiman Marcus, and United Airlines.

Griffin started in the airline industry in 1977 with American Airlines, where he led post-deregulation route and pricing strategies.

He most recently managed a private investment company, consulting in the travel, transportation, and distribution industries.

“Tim brings a deep level of transportation marketing expertise to Amtrak,” said Amtrak co-CEO Richard Anderson in a statement. “Throughout his career, he has repeatedly shown that he knows how to build strong corporate brands that accelerate a company’s growth. At Amtrak, we are looking for Tim to help us identify and win new customers, while continuing to maintain our loyal base of current customers. We are delighted to have him join the company.”

Observers Give Their Take on New Amtrak CEO

June 29, 2017

So who is this former airline executive that Amtrak has chosen to take over as its CEO later this year when Charles “Wick” Moorman retires?

Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson was the head of Delta Air Lines, but he also at one time served as a prosecutor and the vice president of an insurance company, United Health.

His father, Hale, worked for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe in Texas and the family moved multiple times as the elder Anderson held office jobs at posts from Galveston to Dallas and Amarillo.

When he was in college, the younger Anderson’s parents died of cancer and he subsequently had to raise his two younger sisters as he worked to earn college tuition money.

After earning his law degree, Anderson worked in Texas for nearly a decade as a prosecutor.

His entry into the airline industry began in the legal department of Houston-based Continental Airlines.

He would later join Northwest Airlines and became its CEO three years later. As Delta Air Lines was emerging from bankruptcy in 2007, its board of directors asked Anderson to become its CEO, which meant that he succeeded Gerald Grinstein, a former CEO of the Burlington Northern Railroad.

“Richard has a hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves, let-me-see-how-this-thing-really-works kind of approach,” John Dasburg, Northwest’s former president, told USA Today in 2008.

During his time at Delta, Anderson sometimes sought unconventional solutions to solve problems.

For example, in an effort to cut fuel costs, Delta purchased an oil refinery near Philadelphia in 2012.

Industry reaction to Anderson being named co-CEO of Amtrak – Moorman won’t be retiring until late December – has been mostly positive.

He received unqualified endorsements from Linda Bauer Darr, president of the American Short Line and Regional Rail Road Association, and from Ed Hamberger, the president of the Association of American Railroads.

Jim Mathews, head of the National Association of Railroad Passengers lauded Anderson’s transportation experience.

“NARP is very pleased Amtrak is making the sensible move of bringing in an executive with strong management experience in a customer-service oriented transportation company,” Mathews said.

Former NARP executive director Ross Capon said the fact that Moorman will be Amtrak’s co-CEO through December shows the two men will likely have a good working relationship and that Anderson will be able to learn from Moorman.

Not all advocacy groups were enthusiastic about Anderson’s appointment.

Charles Leocha, chairman of Travelers United and an airline consumer advocate, said in an interview with Trains magazine that Anderson is “a real charger” who “has not been a friend of consumers, but ran an efficient airline as consolidation was completed . . .”

Richard Rudolph, the president of the Rail Users Network, said Amtrak needs someone who knows railroads, knows how to run a company and can stand up against Congress and President Donald Trump.

Also expressing skepticism was former Amtrak President and CEO David Gunn.

“If he can’t coax people at Amtrak who know how to run a railroad out of their fox holes, he’s doomed,” Gunn said in an interview with Trains. “And you have to convince them you have a plan that makes sense operationally and is not driven by politics.”

Gunn said the best hope is that Anderson has some knowledge of railroad operations.”

Jackson McQuigg, a railroad historian and passenger advocate based in Atlanta, told Trains that he sees in Anderson a man with a demeanor similar to that of W. Graham Claytor Jr. between 1982 and 1993.

“He had a stellar reputation in Atlanta and cared about the city and its history,” McQuigg told Trains.

While at Delta and Northwest, McQuigg noted, Anderson had a reputation for being a tough guy who wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the airline unions.

“Maybe that bunch in the White House will listen to him,” McQuigg said of Anderson. “It will be interesting to see if that happens or if Anderson presides over dismemberment instead. All I know is that the long-distance trains had better be preserved or the whole thing will go up in political flames.”

Richard Anderson to become Co-CEO on July 12, Wick Moorman Plans to Retire December 31

June 26, 2017

Amtrak will be getting a co-president and CEO next month. Charles “Wick” Moorman will be joined by Richard Anderson, who has 25 years of experience in the airline industry.

This arrangement will continue until Dec. 31, when Moorman plans to step down from his position at Amtrak but continue as an adviser to the company.

The announcement was made in an internal memorandum sent to Amtrak employees and confirmed by a statement issued by Amtrak.

In the memo to employees, Moorman noted that he promised his wife that he time at Amtrak would be short.

Moorman said he said he would stay at Amtrak only as long it took to achieve three goals: Making the company more efficient, developing a stronger safety culture and working with the board of directors to find an executive to lead the railroad long term.

Anderson is a former chief executive at Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines, the latter having been acquired by the former.

“Richard has a proven track record of driving growth while enhancing the customer experience,” Moorman said. “What I really admire about Richard is he faces difficult challenges head-on. He has helped companies navigate bankruptcy, a recession, mergers and acquisitions, and 9/11. In total, Richard is a leader with the strategic vision and tactical experience necessary to run a railroad that benefits our partners, our customers and our employees.”

The statement noted that Anderson’s father worked for the Santa Fe.

Anderson, 62, most recently was executive chairman of the Delta Air Lines board of directors after serving as the airline’s CEO from 2007 to 2016. He was executive vice president at United Healthcare from  2004 to 2007 and CEO of Northwest Airlines from 2001 to 2004.

He also served in the legal division at Continental Airlines and was a former county prosecutor.

“It is an honor to join Amtrak at a time when passenger rail service is growing in importance in America. I look forward to working  alongside Amtrak’s dedicated employees to continue the improvements  begun by Wick,” Anderson said in a statement.

Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Houston at Clear Lake City and a Juris Doctorate at South Texas College of Law. He is a native of Galveston, Texas.

Amtrak Appoints New Financial Vice President

February 2, 2017

William N. Feidt has been named Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Amtrak logoThe appointment is effective Feb. 6. Feidt, who most recently was vice president of financial operations at Cable & Wireless Communications in Miami, will report to Amtrak President Charles “Wick” Moorman.

Feidt will be be responsible for the company’s finance, treasury, accounting and control functions.

“Bill is an experienced and operationally-oriented financial executive with a strong technology background,” Moorman said in a statement. “He will be joining Amtrak’s executive team as we look to continue to improve our finance capabilities and lay the foundation for continued growth.”

Feidt will replace Gerald Sokol, who will leave the company after helping to transition Feidt into his new position.

Moorman’s Letter to Amtrak Employees

September 2, 2016

Charles “Wick” Moorman became president of Amtrak on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. He wrote the following letter to Amtrak employees. Make of it what you will.

Wick Moorman

Wick Moorman

My name is Wick Moorman and it is a pleasure and a privilege for me to be joining you as your new CEO.

I want to start my time at Amtrak by saying how honored I am to follow Joe Boardman. I’ve known Joe for many years, and his work at Amtrak and FRA has left us a strong and useful legacy to build on. During his eight years in leading the company, Amtrak delivered record ridership and revenue levels, while making critical investments in our assets and our people to prepare for future growth. That success is a testament to the strength of the entire Amtrak team, and to Joe’s commitment to leaving Amtrak stronger than when he arrived. That’s what I hope to accomplish myself as your new CEO, as we work together to make Amtrak a safer, more efficient, and modern company, that’s growing our business and delivering increasing value to our customers and the nation.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and why I have chosen to come to Amtrak.

The first thing you should know about me is that I am a life-long railroader, and from childhood I have been fascinated by the technology and romance of our business. After high school, I studied civil engineering at Georgia Tech and was fortunate enough to obtain an engineering co-op position with the Southern Railway, one of Norfolk Southern’s predecessors. Upon graduation from Tech, I joined Southern full-time as a management trainee in the Maintenance of Way department, where I was first put to work on a track gang to ensure that I knew the railroad from the ground up! It was a great way to start, and for the first 12 years of my career I worked in Southern and then Norfolk Southern’s Maintenance of Way department as a track supervisor and then as a division engineer.

Those years served as a wonderful foundation for my over four-decade career with Norfolk Southern. After a brief stint in business school, Norfolk Southern gave me the opportunity to work in transportation, human resources, labor relations, IT and strategic planning. These experiences helped me to understand what it truly takes to run a great railroad and prepared me to become Norfolk Southern’s CEO in 2005. Over the next 10 years, our company went through a period of significant change. Together, we continued to improve our safety culture. We introduced new technology and found new ways to become more efficient. And we completed several rail corridor projects that would help us grow our service capabilities and revenue levels for a long time to come.

I retired quite happily last year, with no intentions of working full-time again, but then was approached about the possibility of leading Amtrak. I started my career in the summer of 1970, not long before Amtrak started to operate. It is not an exaggeration to say I have followed Amtrak since Day One – and while my background is in freight, I have a deep appreciation for passenger rail and have ridden passenger trains all my life. Amtrak provides a great and necessary public service. It keeps people moving and businesses strong in the Northeast Corridor, and it provides connectivity and mobility to 46 of the 48 contiguous states throughout our National Network. Furthermore, as our country’s transportation needs continue to change and grow, there is more and more public interest in passenger rail service everywhere. Together, we can continue to transform Amtrak. We can expand and grow our company in ways that will help us meet these new demands, and make Amtrak the leading rail passenger carrier worldwide.

As I have talked to people over the years about my life and career, I have always stressed how extraordinarily fortunate and blessed I have been! The opportunity to become CEO of Amtrak is another chapter in that story of great good fortune, and I am excited to be starting today.

My immediate priority in the next 60 days as I transition into the new role is to spend time with the leadership team and to get out and see as many of you as I can, in order to get a better understanding of what we do, and how we do it. I also encourage all of you to let me know your thoughts on what we can do together to improve the company.

I will be communicating more with you as we close out fiscal year 2016 and kick-off fiscal year 2017. For now, thanks for everything you’re doing to keep Amtrak rolling, and I look forward to seeing you somewhere out on the railroad.

Sincerely,
Wick Moorman

Carper Expresses Interest in Heading Amtrak

December 16, 2015

Speculation as to who will replace Amtrak President Joseph Boardman has begun with some industry analysts seeing the passenger railroad reaching out to the business world for a new chief.

Another possibility might be former Amtrak board member Tom Carper, who is now a U.S. senator from Delaware.

“I would like to be president of Amtrak,” he said. “I’ve wanted to have that job ever since I stepped down as governor in 1999. I was on the Amtrak board. I love trains. I have all my life. So I’m announcing my candidacy, not for president or vice president, not for anything else. I’m announcing my candidacy for Amtrak.”

The desire to see someone from the business sector appears to be rooted in a desire by some in Congress to see more competition to Amtrak from private companies.

A clause of the recently passed federal transportation bill would allow competition on certain long-distance routes.