Friday, 16 November, 2018

Airline vet to lead Amtrak in a summer of repairs, reckoning

Amtrak President & CEO Wick Moorman speaks on Apr. 6 2017 about service disruptions after a derailment earlier in the week Amtrak President & CEO Wick Moorman speaks on Apr. 6 2017 about service disruptions after a derailment earlier in the week
Nellie Chapman | 27 June, 2017, 07:53

He acknowledged in April that "problems with our tracks in Penn Station were a cause" of two recent derailments, including one characterized as minor that nevertheless left eight of 21 tracks out of service for four days.

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman will be replaced by former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson, who will begin his role on July 12, Amtrak announced Monday.

A decade after setting Delta Air Line on a post-bankruptcy resurgence, the airline's former chairman and chief executive officer is taking on another transportation challenge: Amtrak. "That's an accomplishment in an industry that's just as hard if not more hard than passenger rail". Later, Delta acquired and absorbed Northwest Airlines under Anderson's leadership.

While lacking railroad experience, Anderson has an extensive background as an executive. Those include the Trump administration's proposal to slash the railroad's federal subsidy, and a rash of track failures at New York's Penn Station that have caused widespread delays and forced a summerlong program of fix work that has angered local politicians.

Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia praised Moorman, who joined the company in September 2016 as a transitional CEO, for his work improving the company's operations and helping to recruit Anderson.

Moorman also will continue to oversee the construction of new tunnels and repairs to the current, century-old ones linking NY and New Jersey.

Anderson joins Amtrak at a challenging time for the beleaguered intercity passenger railroad, which is largely funded by the federal government.

Leading Delta for nine years, Anderson transformed the airline after its exit from bankruptcy into a leader in profitability.

Track repairs at Penn Station are scheduled to take place this July and August, with work possibly continuing into 2018.

Anderson retired as CEO in May 2016, then served as executive chairman of the Delta board of directors. He was also CEO of United Healthcare for three years.